By Olivier Bault.
Poland – The Polish parliament adopted last week a first law called “For Life” as part of the fulfillment of the promises made by the Prime Minister Beata Szydło after the rejection early October of the Citizen Bill “Stop abortion” which aimed to completely prohibit abortion except in cases of danger to the pregnant woman’s life. The Prime Minister and the leader of the conservative Law and Justice (PiS), Jarosław Kaczyński, and several PiS MPs and Senators and part of the traditionally pro-life conservative media, had then explained that banning abortion in cases of pregnancy resulting from rape or in cases of serious and incurable disease or malformation of the child is to risky and might have a boomerang effect, as the parties now in the opposition if returning to power could completely liberalize abortion on the model of Western Europe arguing this law had to be changed.
The PiS is still considering only a restriction on the concept of serious and incurable disease including prohibition of the abortion when the child is affected by Down syndrome, which would prohibit more than 90% of abortions carried out under the current law. But at first, the promise of PiS is to set up an aid program for families and women, during pregnancy and after childbirth, for the “difficult” pregnancies, that is to say, with a child from a rape or suffering from a malformation or serious and incurable disease.
The first law passed without consultations because it was necessary to act quickly, according to the government who initiated this law, sets up an aid of 4,000 zlotys (a bit less than €1,000) which will be made available at one time at the childbirth to help families cope with the additional costs that may come with the birth of a child with a disability. This law will also give priority access to care in the public health sector during and after pregnancy, and it sets up a “family assistant” which will be responsible for guiding the mother and family in obtaining all aids available, including access to psychological support and appropriate prenatal and postnatal palliative care facilities.
It is certainly very little, although in the Polish circumstances it is not negligible, and it is hoped that the government and its parliamentary majority will have the courage and honesty to go much further in supporting families with disabled children, to realize the promise of giving women the opportunity to not abort even in case of difficult pregnancy. However, the surprise is that the harshest criticisms against these new aid come from feminist circles and from those among the parliamentary opposition who protested the loudest against the Citizen Bill against abortion. For them, these 4,000 zlotys and other planned aid would be only an attempt to bribe women in order to discourage abortion.
Fortunately, the events organized by these feminists are not drawing a full house now that the prospect of an almost total ban vanished. The Poles, in their great majority, do abhor abortion as it is massively practiced in the west of the continent.
Originally published in Present.
Translated from French by the Visegrád Post.