(LifeSiteNews) — Poland could legalize abortion during the first three months of pregnancy via new legislation that could weaken the traditionally Catholic country’s legal protections for the preborn. A significant number of the nation’s Catholic population is likely to resist the move, though the Polish prime minister has hinted at using means other than the legislature to push the change.
Recently elected Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who is part of a governmental shift in the country away from conservative leadership and toward a pro-European Union stance, said in a Friday interview that his center-left political group, Civic Coalition, would forward a bill permitting abortions during the first third of an unborn baby’s life under some circumstances, Notes from Poland reported.
“Civic Coalition will submit a bill that gives the right to safe abortion up to the 12th week with certain conditions,” Tusk told the country’s three largest news outlets.
Current law in Poland makes abortion illegal 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.
Notes from Poland reported that a prior law permitting abortions of babies with fatal medical conditions was reversed in 2020, sparking outrage and widespread calls for a liberalization of abortion law.
Writing for LifeSiteNews late last year, Filip Mazurczak suggested that Tusk capitalized on the protests to reinvigorate his struggling political party.
“[S]eeing the energy of the protests, Tusk changed his party’s position on abortion in a New York minute,” Mazurczak wrote, adding that, in the 2023 elections, “Tusk declared that candidates who do not support abortion on demand in the first trimester of pregnancy will not be allowed to run on a Civic Platform ticket.”
However, he suggested that the party’s efforts at “social revolution” were doomed to “falter” for a number of reasons, among the most significant being that “the defenders of tradition, life, and morality remain a major force in Polish society.”
“Attempts at violating the rights of the unborn will run into major social opposition; it is possible that potential pro-life protests could dwarf the pro-abortion protests of 2020,” he said.
Concrete reasons that the pro-abortion agenda may not succeed include opposition from the “Third Way” political coalition, which has advocated for a return to Poland’s 1993 ban on elective abortions and has the support of the country’s substantial rural, Catholic voting block. Moreover, Mazurczak pointed out that the country is headed by pro-life Catholic president with 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.
But Tusk has suggested that legislative opposition may not be an impediment to shoehorning an expansion of abortion policy.
In his remarks on Friday, the prime minister acknowledged that his party’s bill to create a limited “right” to abortion may not get the necessary support from conservative lawmakers.
“Will there be a majority of votes for this? If Third Way does not change its mind, probably not, because there is no point counting on [the Law and Justice party],” he said, per Notes from Poland.
But he hinted at ways to cram down the change even without majority backing.
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 said he was personally opposed to determining the issue via referendum, though he explained he would be open to revisiting the notion “if it turns out that the only way to liberalize abortion law is through a referendum.”
While it remains to be seen whether the efforts to either legislatively pass the measure or jam it through administrative avenues will succeed, Poland tragically wouldn’t be the first traditionally Catholic country to remove protections for the unborn in recent years if it did so.
In 2018, Ireland passed legislation permitting abortion-on-demand for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and permitting the practice later in pregnancy in the case of risk to the health of the mother and fatal fetal conditions. In 2020, majority-Catholic Argentina legalized abortion-on-demand for the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. And just last year, French president Emmanuel Macron vowed to enshrine a so-called “right” to abortion in the nation’s constitution.
To date, Poland has stood out as one of only three countries to have rolled back their abortion laws to create protections for the unborn in recent years, finding company with the U.S. and El Salvador, despite an overall global trend toward liberalizing abortion laws, Politico reported.