Polish ruling party appears unwilling to revisit failed abortion ban
WARSAW, Poland, October 17, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — The Conservative ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party is losing the abortion battle.
In public statements, party leaders are constantly on the defensive and have adopted the language of pro-abortion activists. Many have already abandoned the unborn to calm the heated debate.
Earlier this month, the PiS party killed the total abortion ban proposed by half a million Polish citizens, after the highly publicized pro-abortion “Black Protest.” Now PiS politicians are attempting to calm pro-life voters through the media, which has not been effective so far.
The rejection of the ban in the lower house of Parliament (Sejm) was a surprising turn of events. Only a short time before, the Sejm had voted to continue the legislative process on a “Stop Abortion" measure. Furthermore, according to Jerzy Kwaśniewski from the “Stop Abortion” committee, many politicians from the ruling parties had expressed support for the complete abortion ban and encouraged pro-lifers to act.
The activists had organized many pro-life marches and gathered close to half a million signatures of support for the ban. They also had prepared several bills aimed to help women and families with crisis pregnancies.
Unfortunately, some PiS leaders were neither impressed by nor friendly to pro-life activists. Kwaśniewski, an Ordo Iuris lawyer and one of the authors of the rejected abortion ban, revealed that the “Stop Abortion” committee tried to meet with the head of PiS, Jarosław Kaczyński, on numerous occasions but to no avail. Consequently, pro-life activists feel betrayed by PiS.
Serious, concrete steps will be needed to change the situation, but PiS shows no willingness to listen.
In a TV appearance on October 12, Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło only mouthed some clichés regarding the plight of the unborn. “The Polish government has to show that it cares about human life,” she said to the Catholic Trwam TV. She used the general term “human life” or “pregnancy” several times instead of the more personal “unborn child.”
Discounting the unborn, who have no voice, she added that “one cannot ignore the voice of people who took part in the ‘Black Protest.’” And “for women,” Szydło offered “support” in the form of bills “her government is currently working on.”
Szydło also made proposals regarding adoption and help for families with special needs children and women with difficult pregnancies, but those came too late — a year after the PiS took power. What’s more, they do nothing in terms of better legal protection of the unborn.
It seems as though some PiS politicians are trying to ease their own consciences and do all they can to avoid changing the abortion law. Whatever their motivations, the ruling party’s politicians constantly send mixed signals to the public.
One of them is Kaczyński, who is not in the cabinet but essentially rules the party. Although in an interview with the Polish Press Agency (PAP) he did not directly exclude improving the current abortion law, he specifically mentioned only unborn children with Down syndrome.
Acknowledging that a large portion of Polish abortions include the unborn with this condition, he said, “We hope that soon this will not be the case. This is our goal. This must be prepared in the right way, however. The public also needs to be convinced, particularly women, and we will do it.”
Kaczyński seems unwilling to take part in an abortion war and to defend the unborn by offering them legal protection. Fighting against what Saint Paul John II called “the civilization of death” is not his priority. It seems as if Kaczyński used the “Black Protests” as a pretext to convince his party not to further discuss the ban. Publicly, he explained that his party killed the abortion ban because “someone wants to use” it to attack his party and the Church.
Neither his statements nor his actions prevented further attacks, though. For instance, he said, “We will strive to ensure that even in pregnancies which are very difficult, when a child is sure to die and strongly deformed, [women] end up giving birth so that the child can be baptized, buried, and have a name.” "Black" protestors immediately pounced with an aggressive and vulgar picket in front of his house.
The organizers wrote that his words about having women carry handicapped babies “to term to perform baptism in the Roman Catholic Church prove he is ready to do anything to please the bishops.”
In reaction to another feminist protest and Kaczyński’s statements, PiS spokeswomen Beata Mazurek said the party will not “force anybody to do anything.” Speaking emotionally and not very clearly, she added that any potential change to the abortion law will be “voluntary” on the part of women, blurring even further the PiS stance on the issue.
Mazurek's statements showed that leading PiS politicians concentrate the discussion on women and rarely talk about the unborn. For some reason, they do not even mention recent cases of children born alive during abortions in Poland.
Again and again, PiS politicians use feminist rhetoric to defend themselves, highlighting their own spinelessness in protecting the most innocent and fragile. It is unlikely that leading Law and Justice politicians will change the law to offer justice for the unborn.
According to Polish law dated from 1993, abortion is illegal except in certain circumstances. First, when the woman's life or health is endangered, there are no legal limits as to the time when it can be performed. Second, when the pregnancy is a result of a criminal act, abortion is permitted until the 12th week. Finally, abortion is legal when a doctor believes that the baby has a severe and irreversible handicap or an incurable and life-threatening disease. In such situations, the procedure is legal until the baby is viable.