Poland - Pro-abortion provisions scrapped

WARSAW, Poland -- The right to life has more protection now, after a high court decision to scrap pro-abortion provisions was published Tuesday.

The ruling's publication in the Constitutional Tribunal bulletin means a return to the 1993 law permitting abortion only if giving birth endangers a woman's life, the fetus is irreparably damaged or the pregnancy results from rape or incest.

The law was replaced in 1996 by a more extreme law allowing abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy if mothers were deemed to face financial or emotional difficulties if they had a child.

In May, the tribunal found that the 1996 pro-abortion law violated the constitution's right to life provision. That decision came three days before a trip to Poland by Pope John Paul II, who had criticized the law, saying, "a nation that kills its own children is a nation without hope."

The law remained in effect for a six-month grace period and parliament last week failed to obtain the two-thirds vote necessary to overrule the court decision.

President Aleksander Kwasniewski, a former ex-communist leader who has campaigned for abortion, said he did not intend to push for change of the protective law. Any initiative to scrap the pro-life law will come from Parliament, Kwasniewski told the Catholic Information Agency on Tuesday.

"I respect the opinion of the parliamentary majority," he said. Kwasniewski's former colleagues of the ex-communist Democratic Left Alliance party have pledged to get the right to life protections abolished.

Source: The Pro-Life Infonet (infonet-mod@prolife.org)

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