In Poland right now, a debate is raging about abortion. Currently, abortion is only legal under three circumstances: if the pregnancy threatens the mother’s life or health, if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, and if the baby is diagnosed with a disability or birth defect. Most of the time, the abortions take place because of disability, and almost never due to a problem with the mother’s health, rape, or incest, according to Reuters. In 2016, just under 1,100 abortions were committed; of those, 1,042 were due to disability.
Not only are babies with disabilities aborted in Poland, but if they survive, they can be left to die. In a story previously covered by Live Action News, a 24-week baby with Down syndrome was aborted. But the abortion failed, and the baby was born alive. The baby cried and screamed for an hour until the child died. Doctors and nurses did not intervene in any way to help save the child’s life. According to Amy Wiejak, the reporter who originally broke the story several years ago, this case was horrifying for those involved.
“The screams of this child were so traumatic for the personnel that they declared that they will never forget it,” she said. “Some say they will leave their job as a result.” One of the personnel was so traumatized that he/she became a whistleblower, going to the media to expose the issue. Dorota Jaslowska-Niemyska, spokeswoman for Holy Family Hospital in Warsaw, where the botched abortion happened, said that the baby had been prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome, and that was why the baby’s mother chose to have an abortion.
Polish law dictates that if a civic initiative receives over 100,000 signatures within three months, then it must be put to the Parliament for a vote. The “Stop Abortion” initiative would ban abortions due to birth defects and disability, and received 830,000 signatures. Meanwhile, the “Save the Women” initiative, which would further legalize abortion, claimed to receive over 400,000 signatures. However, that number is contested, and currently, investigators are looking into the petition to see if organizers lied.
In January, the Parliament voted to send the pro-life initiative to parliamentary committees, and earlier this month, the legislation moved further forward, passing the Committee on Justice and Human Rights by a vote of 16-9. In a statement, Poland’s Catholic Bishop’s Conference applauded the vote.
“Every conceived child has the right to birth and to life, regardless of innate diseases and genetic defects. The role of the state is to provide protection for every citizen, also in its first stage of life,” Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki of Pozan said. “The right to life is a fundamental human right, there is no doubt in this matter. I would like to thank the parliamentarian Committee on Justice and Human Rights, which, giving a positive recommendation to the civic draft law ‘Halt Abortion’ signed by over 830,000 Poles, confirmed this right.”
For the bill to become law, it will need to pass the Social Policy and Family Committee, and then it will be sent to the Senate to be voted on. Polish President Andrzej Duda would then either need to sign the bill within 21 days, or veto it. Duda has previously confirmed that he is opposed to such eugenic abortions, so it appears that this initiative has a good chance of becoming law in Poland. While it infuriates abortion activists, this is a fantastic step forward for life; no child deserves a death sentence because of a disability.