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LODZ, July 29, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Grassroots opposition to anti-life policies is on the rise, according to a number of European abortion-supportive organizations. Alarm at the soaring abortion and plummeting birth rates in their home countries has inspired Europeans to re-consider the leftist-inspired orthodoxies of population control and abortion-on-demand.

In 1962, at the height of communist rule in Poland, the number of abortions reached an all-time high of 199,400. The numbers slowly fell to 137,950 in 1980 at the time of the Gdansk shipyard strike that brought down communist rule and continued to plummet thereafter.

The number of abortions took a dramatic jump in 1996/97 going from 505 to 3171 when the abortion lobby succeeded in briefly liberalizing the law to allow abortion until the 12th week of pregnancy if “a woman is in hard life conditions or in difficult personal situation.” The law was restricted again in 1997 and the number immediately dropped to 312 and fell to 123 in 2001, but has been slowly creeping up since then.

Since the official fall of communism in Eastern and Central Europe, Poland, as with most of the world’s last few Catholic countries, has been the target of a concerted effort by various international abortion promoting organizations.

Both international and home-grown European pro-life groups are fighting back with strong pro-life campaigns including the Genocide Awareness Project. The GAP and similar campaigns juxtapose large photographic images of aborted children with pictures of Holocaust and other genocide victims to establish a simple and direct correlation in the mind of the observer.

The appearance of the GAP style display for most of July in the Polish city of Lodz is part of a growing effort to fight back for the lives of Europe’s children and its demographic future. The pictures in the Lodz display are geared towards a European audience with the aborted children depicted next to photos of victims of genocide in Bosnian or Rwandan genocides. The traveling exhibition has moved on to its next appearance in Lublin.

One pro-abortion writer in the International Herald Tribune complains of this growing ‘conservative’ movement in Europe. Elisabeth Rosenthal writes, “The movement has made powerful inroads in countries where a full array of women’s health services were once taken for granted…including Poland, Italy, Slovakia, Lithuania and even the Netherlands.”

She cites pro-life Anna Zaborska of Slovakia, the new chairwoman of the European Parliament Committee for Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, as an example of the ‘danger’ of pro-life sentiments growing in high places in Europe.

“It’s gotten worse in many places over the last two to three years, as more Christian Democrat and conservative governments have come to power,” said Rebecca Gomperts, founder of the Dutch abortion group Women on Waves, the same group that pilots its abortion ship to countries in which abortion is illegal.

Rosenthal quotes Joseph Meaney, international director of Human Life International, a Catholic anti-abortion group based in Virginia. “There are now a lot of pro-life groups working in Europe, but they are fairly young – formed in the last five or 10 years,” he said.

Rosenthal complains that the Catholic Church’s influence, far from dying out, is on the rise, especially with the young. Joseph Meany calls this the “John Paul II effect.” But Rosenthal chillingly reminds that there are only 4 countries left in Europe that have any legal restrictions on abortion – Ireland, Malta, Poland and Portugal. All of these, with the possible exception of Malta, are in immediate danger of caving to abortion lobby pressure and all are annually harassed by United Nations committees dedicated to universal abortion-on-demand.

Esmeralda Kuliesyte of Lithuania’s Family Planning and Sexual Health Association complained that the abstinence policies of the Bush administration are also having an effect.

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