WARSAW, Poland, June 29, 2011 ( – The head of the Poland Bishops’ Conference has urged Polish politicians to support an historic new bill seeking to institute a total ban on abortion, saying that otherwise “the blood of the innocent” will be on their conscience.


“It has to be stated clearly that the current Polish law concerning protection of life is not perfect, it is sick and now the Parliament will have a chance to heal it,” Archbishop Jozef Michalik of Przemyśl told Gosc Niedzielny, the country’s largest Catholic weekly. 

“What kind of law is this, which allows to kill some people! Maybe we should also have a law allowing some people or institutions to steal, or maybe up to a certain value?”

The lower house of Poland’s Parliament (called the ‘Sejm’) will have a first reading vote this week on a new citizens’ bill that would enshrine total protection for children in the womb by removing the three exceptions that allow abortion under the current law.

That law, passed in 1993 after the Communists were overthrown, is one of the most restrictive in the West.  However, it still allows the unborn child to be killed in cases where he is diagnosed with a serious defect or disease, where the mother is diagnosed with a health problem, or where the pregnancy resulted from “illegal activity.”

The new bill follows a massive nation-wide grassroots initiative launched by Warsaw’s PRO Foundation.  Organizers needed to collect 100,000 signatures within three months in order to put the bill before Parliament – they succeeded in getting 600,000 in just two weeks.

Archbishop Michalik said there is no justification for Catholic politicians to not support the total ban.  “If a parliamentarian declaring himself as a Catholic with awareness, deep faith and a formed conscience, did not support a total ban on abortion, he would certainly have to go to confession, convert, vow to correct himself and publicly take back, or even mend his wrong decision,” he explained.

“Those who refuse to support good legislative changes are launching a heavy burden on their conscience and are showing that they do not consider God’s law and natural law binding, or that they value their own interpretation over the voice of the Church,” he continued.  “At best, they are people living in a mistake.”

The prelate slammed those arguing that the current law is a “good compromise.”

“How can you talk about a good compromise if in three cases it allows for the killing of the unborn?” he asked.  “You cannot, as it is happening currently, take away the lives of sick or disabled children, or because the child’s parents committed a crime or somebody committed a crime against the parents.”

The pope and the Polish bishops have never agreed “to any exceptions to an unconditional ban on abortion,” he insisted.  “No such thing exists and will ever exist. The Polish Episcopate has no right to change God’s commandment of ‘Thou shall not kill.’”

He said the claim that the bill is disturbing the “social peace” on abortion in Polish society is really “about putting people’s consciences to sleep.” 

“Always when God’s law is not respected, we have to sound the alarm and aim for changing the sick law,” he continued.  “We cannot allow the society to be lulled to sleep with deceitful slogans about progress. You cannot separate life from conscience, from faith. You cannot evade the effort to solve even the most difficult matters in accordance with morality.”


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