WARSAW, Poland, July 4, 2011 ( – Thursday’s debate on a citizens’ bill to totally ban abortion in Poland saw over 40 Polish parliamentarians from numerous parties take to the floor to support the measure, giving powerful, and often extremely personal statements.

Poland’s lower house supported the bill Friday in a vote of 254-151, agreeing to send it to a committee for further examination.  The bill was put before parliament as a result of a massive grassroots initiative that secured 600,000 signatures in two weeks.

The bill would remove all three exceptions from Poland’s current abortion law, which allows the deadly practice where the child 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.”

MP Wojciech Kossakowski called abortion the “modern day slaughter of the innocents.”  “How monstrously egotistical, devoid of the smallest drop of humanity, you have to be to agree to murder under the auspices of law,” he said.

(Read a collection of some of the most powerful testimony from the debate here.)

Failure to pass the total ban would be “a tragedy for the nation,” said MP Jerzy Rębek.  “Let us do something beautiful in our lives, let us vote for this bill. Maybe this will be the last good thing that we ever do. I am asking you to do it.”

“We are at a breakthrough. This is a debate, a war, a battle between two visions of man, a battle for souls, for power over souls,” urged MP Teresa Wargocka.  “We have to remember this, we need to realize this.”

MP Anna Paluch called the massive grassroots effort “the most beautiful campaign of civil society in years.”  And MP Mieczysław Golba said it was “the most important legislative proposal of this Parliamentary term.”

MP Stefan Strzałkowski said passage of the bill “would be one of the most important moments in my life.”

Many MPs addressed the “hard cases” arguments often used by pro-abortion activists by sharing stories of young girls who went through the trauma of rape, but who found great peace by carrying their unborn child.  MP Maria Zuba, for example, told the story of a 14-year-old girl who got pregnant after rape, but chose to keep her child on the advice of a nun.  “If she was here today, she would tell you more, but for sure she would say that you cannot treat one harm by exerting another,” Zuba said.

MP Stanisław Ożóg, shared his deep gratitude that his son and daughter-in-law had kept a child diagnosed with a very serious heart problem.  The young boy died shortly after birth, he said, but “I have a grave of this child at the cemetery, where I can go to, light a candle, and be with him.’

The bill’s supporters also include pro-life converts, such as MP Bolesław Piecha of the opposition Law and Justice Party, who is a former health minister and a former abortionist.

MP Jolanta Szczypinska, who had previously opposed a pro-life amendment to the Constitution, rose to tell her fellow parliamentarians that the 500 Polish children killed through abortion every year “are on our consciences.”

“I think the time has come to give witness,” she said.

Numerous parliamentarians specifically targeted the law’s exceptions, arguing that it is a fundamental injustice for a child to be killed simply because he had been conceived in rape, or suffers from a disability.

“How else can we treat the disabled and the people conceived in rape living around us, if we think that at some stage in their life, they can be killed if this is more comfortable?” asked MP Jan Dziedziczak.

MP Anna Sobecka said killing a child because of the illegal actions of his or her father amounts to “executing a kind of death penalty on an innocent, unborn man.”

“The death penalty for criminals was abolished in the European Union as inhumanitarian, and it is still practiced for the innocent, the smallest, weakest children,” she lamented.

“Children cannot be killed for the sins of their fathers,” said MP Czesław Hoc.  “It is the guilty that must be punished with all severity.”

“Do we have the right, as parliamentarians, to allow for the woman to be punished twice?” asked MP Stefan Strzałkowski.  “The second punishment is the results of the abortion for the rest of her life, and the literature on this is rich.”

Many parliamentarians also stressed that passing the bill would send a strong message to other countries; they urged that the country pass it during Poland’s six-month term as president of the European Union, which began July 1.

MP Ewa Malik of the Law and Justice Party said the bill could be “a catalyst for moral revolution in our country … and in the future can be transferred to the European ground, to all the countries which have so far presented positions on this issue known as the civilization of death.”

(Read a collection of some of the most powerful testimony from the debate here.)