Protesters Decry Poland’s Proposed Near-Total Ban on Abortion

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Published on Monday, September 26, 2016
by Common Dreams

Poland's right-wing parliament moved forward with legislation that would sentence women and doctors to years in prison for terminating a pregnancy

by Nika Knight, staff writer

Poland's ruling right-wing party on Friday pushed forward with a nearly complete ban on abortion, and women around the country and in cities across Europe rose up this weekend to condemn the legislation.

The new anti-abortion bill "proposes to permit abortion only if the pregnancy threatens the mother's life," according to the Telegraph, forcing victims of rape or incest to carry those pregnancies to term. "Women who have terminations could be jailed for between three months and five years, while practitioners of illegal abortions could also face five-year sentences, up from two years at present," the newspaper adds.

And because doctors are threatened with prison sentences for performing abortions, they will be reluctant to perform abortions even when the mother's life is indeed threatened, as a doctor argued before parliament earlier this year: "If I have a 32-week pregnant patient with pre-eclampsia, I have to wait for her and her child to start dying before I can take action," explained Professor Romuald Dębski, who is quoted by Amnesty International.

"If there is an ectopic pregnancy and bleeding, I can perform a termination. But if there is no bleeding—no immediate risk to life—I have to wait until she starts dying," Dębski said.

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Source: Common Dreams