Poland Moves One Step Closer to Passing Abortion Law
Polish lawmakers decided to press ahead with work on draft legislation banning abortions altogether, even for women who were raped, are carrying deformed babies or face health risks.
The parliament of Poland, which already has one of Europe's strictest anti-abortion laws, dismissed a bid by a left-wing party to drop the law project, instead sending it to a committee for further work.
The draft had been submitted to parliament by anti-abortion activists, drawing support from about 450,000 petitioners from the conservative opposition as well as a rightist, liberal party in the ruling coalition.
Abortion is outlawed in Poland except in cases when pregnancy results from rape or incest, poses a health risk to the mother or if the foetus is severely deformed.
But even under such conditions, hospitals are known to refuse abortions.
Illegal abortions can be punished by up to two years in prison for those who perform them, while the women themselves are not liable.
Polish women's rights group say there are up to 180,000 illegal abortions in Poland each year, while official data indicates just hundreds of legal terminations annually.