Saturday, October 1, 2016

Poland is considering a total ban on abortion – The World

The feminist organizations in poland are calling for a protest Saturday against a proposed law which provides for harden one of the laws the most restrictive in Europe.

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A woman holds a sign in Warsaw, on the 22nd  of September in Poland.

” The party is over ! “It is under this slogan that the feminist organizations in poland want to gather, Saturday, 1st October, one of the largest events for women since the transition to democracy. Since the Polish Parliament has decided, on the 23rd of September, to return to a parliamentary committee a proposal of law aiming at the total prohibition of abortion in the country, the mobilization, in particular through social networks, does not fail.

The “manifestation of black” – the color of the dress of the protesters – is expected to peak on Monday 3 October, during a strike of Polish women in the course of which many of them should not go to work to get off the street.

Read : Poland : a project obscurantist on abortion

The legislation on the voluntary interruption of pregnancy (VIP) in Poland is already one of the most restrictive in Europe. Fruit of a compromise between the Church and State dating back to 1993, it is allowed in only three cases : in the case of rape or incest, severe pathology of the fetus, or risks proven to the life or health of the mother. The draft tabled in Parliament at the initiative of the organizations, “pro-life” is designed to eliminate these exceptions. It is the echo of a call in this sense by the Polish episcopate in April.

The number of abortions, legal oscillates between 600 and 1, 000 every year, one of the lowest rates in Europe

For women in Poland, ABORTION remains a real obstacle course. The number of abortions, legal oscillates between 600 and 1,000 each year, for 10 million women of childbearing age. It is one of the lowest rates in Europe. The feminist organizations estimated as being between 100 000 and 150 000 the number of annual abortions, a figure that includes illegal abortion, and the ” tourism “, mainly to clinics, Slovak, Czech, austrian, or German.

” The abortion underground in Poland is in decline because it remains very expensive, around 1000 euros, emphasises Krystyna Kacpura, executive director of the Federation for women and family planning (Federa). the For a sum of from 300 or 500 euros, the Polish prefer to visit in Slovakia. “

special concern

This kind of practice has been developed these last years : the clinics now offer services in Polish, with transport and accommodation included. But, for women living in the material conditions of the most precarious, even this sum can be a barrier. Another common practice – and more accessible – is buying on the Internet pills causing miscarriages.

” Even in the cases permitted by law, access to abortion remains a real problem in Poland, adds Mme Kacpura. in many doctors hide behind their conscience clause. The elongation of the intentional procedures is also commonplace in hospitals, the doctors who fear being criminalized or stigmatized by the catholic organizations. “ These last appear regularly before the relevant institutions and are particularly influential.

According to a study by the organisation Federa conducted on 200 hospitals, only 4.5 % of institutions agree to send patients information on procedures that may lead to a legal abortion. In some areas, the situation is worrying : in the voivodeship of Lower Carpathians (2.2 million inhabitants), no hospital does not practice a legal abortion, due to lack of doctors that do not use the conscience clause.

The great fear of the feminist organizations is that any tightening of the law also violates the pre-natal, relatively well developed in Poland. The draft law also provides for sentences of up to five years in prison for the mothers, the doctors, or anyone who would help in an abortion. the ” In practice, this means that any miscarriage will be suspected and will be the subject of an investigation by the prosecutor, specifies Mme Kacpura. the From a legal point of view, the life of the child will take precedence over the survival of the mother. “

70 % of Poles for the status quo

A protester against abortion in front of the  Parliament in Warsaw, September 22, 2016.

The proposed law of popular initiative puts the most ultraconservative of the PiS (Law and Justice) in the lurch. The head of government, Beata Szydlo, systematically avoids questions on the subject and the party of Jaroslaw Kaczynski appears divided. The PiS was in the past already spoken in favour of projects of law are similar, when he was in the opposition. Having now an absolute majority, the party comes under pressure from its right wing and the Church.

Read also : the rule of law in Poland : Brussels rise again and the tone

The hardening of the law is also supported by a majority of the parliamentary group of populist Kukiz'15, the third political force in Parliament, and would – in theory – likely to be adopted. But, to the right, many people think that the project could be watered down in the parliamentary commission. The centrists of the civic Platform (PO) defend the current status quo.

Many, including within PiS – fear the opening of a front additional, so that the government is already under fire of the international criticism, in particular on the reform of the justice system. According to the latest opinion studies, 70 % of Poles are in favour of maintaining the current compromise – compared to 14 % for a tightening of the law and 16 % for its liberalization.

The european Parliament has decided, on the initiative of groups of liberals and social-democrats, to debate on the rights of women in Poland, Wednesday, 5 October. On this occasion, no vote of resolution is not expected. The Council of human rights of the united Nations also plans to take up the issue, 17 and 18 October, in Geneva. International pressure that did not seem to intimidate the ruling party.


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