Poland’s conservatives are pushing one of Europe’s toughest abortion laws
The bill would force women to give birth even in cases of severe birth defects
Apr 5th 2018
AT 13 weeks of pregnancy, Marta, a young woman in Warsaw, learned that her baby had Down’s syndrome and life-threatening defects. After a procedural obstacle course (including a visit to a psychiatrist), she was allowed to undergo a legal abortion, one of just 1,000 or so in Poland every year. Poland has some of Europe’s tightest restrictions on abortion, allowing it only when the mother’s life is at risk, or in cases of rape or severe prenatal defects. Many women turn to illegal abortions or go abroad, often to Germany.
Now the restrictions could get even tighter. Legislation proposed by a pro-life organisation, backed by the Catholic church, would ban abortion even for severe prenatal defects. The Polish parliament’s committee for human rights gave the bill the go-ahead last month, although the Council of Europe and UN experts have urged lawmakers to reject it.