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A view of lawmakers during a parliament session on January 26, 2024 in Warsaw, Poland. Photo by Omar Marques/Getty Images

WARSAW, Poland (LifeSiteNews) — Lawmakers in Poland last week introduced legislation to legalize abortion within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy or later. 

On Thursday, Polish legislators within Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s Civic Coalition (KO) submitted a draft proposal to parliament to legalize elective abortions in the first trimester and expand possibilities for later abortions. The vast majority of abortions in many countries are committed in the first three months of pregnancy.

The proposed legislation states that a “pregnant person [sic] has the right to health care in the form of termination of pregnancy until the end of the 12th week of its duration.” Abortions past the first trimester would be legal in the event that the pregnancy was deemed a threat to the mother’s life or health, including mental health, Notes from Poland reported. The legislation would also allow abortions in cases of rape, incest, or fetal abnormalities.

The move comes after Tusk, who is helping lead the country toward a more left-wing, pro-European Union stance, said earlier this month that his political coalition would forward such a bill.

France 24 noted that the legislation, if passed, “would dramatically reverse the previous administration’s policies.” The previous government was controlled the strongly conservative Law and Justice Party.

READ: Poland’s prime minister suggests abortion bill on the horizon in pro-life country

Currently, abortion is illegal in Poland except in cases of rape, incest, or to “save the life of the mother.” Pro-lifers point out that unborn babies are not culpable for the circumstances of their conception, and that the deliberate killing of a preborn baby is morally unjustifiable and never medically necessary. Medical interventions to deal with miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies are not abortions.

However, Poland’s left-wing coalition advanced a bill to eliminate safeguards for the unborn in November, now followed by the Civic Coalition’s proposal last week, Euractiv reported. It remains to be seen whether the bill advanced by leaders in Tusk’s coalition will find success in Parliament. The Third Way and Law and Justice parties include many pro-life Christians who would be unlikely to approve a pro-abortion measure.

Tusk himself has acknowledged that reality, remarking in an interview with the country’s three largest news outlets that there would “probably not” be a “majority of votes” for the pro-abortion bill “if Third Way does not change its mind,” since the staunchly pro-life Law and Justice party is extremely unlikely to approve it.

Moreover, efforts to legalize abortion in Poland are likely to be met with pushback from Polish citizens, Catholic clergy, and the country’s pro-life Catholic President Andrzej Duda. Though the Catholic population has declined in Poland in recent years, the vast majority of Poles still identify as such.

Writing for LifeSiteNews late last year, Filip Mazurczak predicted large-scale “potential pro-life protests,” and highlighted the country’s substantial rural, Catholic voting block. Moreover, President Duda has veto power over any pro-abortion legislation, and an amendment in the national constitution could put pro-abortion laws in jeopardy of being ruled unconstitutional, Mazurczak pointed out.

And lawmakers and private citizens aren’t the only people in Poland to present an obstacle to the pro-abortion efforts.

Last week, the head of the Polish Catholic bishops’ conference spoke out strongly in defense of life, declaring firmly that laws permitting abortion and euthanasia are fundamentally unjust.

“In the spirit of responsibility for the Church in Poland and for the good of our common homeland, I call on all people of good will to unequivocally declare themselves pro-life,” Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, chairman of the Polish Episcopal Conference, said in a statement published Friday. He called on the nation’s lawmakers and the pro-life Catholic president “to bear witness to true concern for defenseless, unborn life.”

READ: Head of Polish Bishops’ Conference: No one ‘of good conscience’ can support pro-abortion or euthanasia laws

However, with the legislative approach to legalizing abortion likely to hit snags from unsupportive leaders, lawmakers, and citizens, the change could be crammed down even without majority backing.

As LifeSiteNews previously reported, Tusk told the media that “if law is not possible because we do not obtain a majority of votes, we will look for ways to implement regulations, administrative decisions, persuasion and certain policies conducted by the health ministry” to permit abortions. He also hinted at openness to a referendum if that is “the only way to liberalize abortion law.”