September 17, 2012 — The Polish Parliament this month is expected to vote on a bill that would ease the country's abortion policy, which is considered one of the strictest in Europe, the Christian Science Monitor reports.
Under current law, Poland's universal health system only covers abortion in cases of rape, threats to the woman's health and fetal anomalies, but hospitals often object to the procedure on religious grounds even in those cases. The bill's supporters say the current law does not stop demand for abortion or prevent it from occurring. Rather, the policy has produced a vast network of illegal abortion providers that women visit in secret.
The legislation -- proposed by the Palikot Movement political party -- would legalize abortion up to 12 weeks of pregnancy. The bill also includes provisions that would increase the availability of no-cost or subsidized contraception and improve sex education.
The legislation is unlikely to be approved or become law in the current political climate, according to the Monitor. Last year, the lower house of Parliament voted 254-151 to approve a bill banning abortion in all circumstances, although the bill did not become law.
However, the measure represents a new effort to challenge the nation's policies on women's reproductive rights ahead of the 4th Congress of Women, which was held in Warsaw on Sept. 14 and 15. The event featured prominent women in business, government, the media and other fields (Johnston, Christian Science Monitor, 9/13).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Marya Torrez, associate editor & senior reproductive health policy counsel, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership