Wednesday, March 7, 2007
Polish premier rejects far-right call to toughen abortion law
Via AFP/Yahoo! News:
Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski on Monday rejected a call by the far-right League of Polish Families (LPR) party for Poland's tough abortion laws to be made even stricter. "We consider it to be unrealistic and harmful to pass a law or an amendment to the constitution which would... toughen the anti-abortion law," Kaczynski told a news conference.
Abortion is only allowed in Poland in cases of rape, incest, danger to the mother's life or irreversible malformation of the foetus. Breaking the law carries a two-year jail term.
Last week a parliamentary commission came out in favour of a proposal by the ultra-Catholic LPR to have a "right to life from the moment of conception" written into the constitution, effectively preventing any liberalization of the abortion law in future.
Feminist groups claim the bill would lead to an outright ban on all abortion in the country. It needs support from two-thirds of the 460 members of parliament to pass.
Polish deputy prime minister and LPR chief Roman Giertych called at a meeting of European Union education ministers last week for a complete ban on all abortions throughout the 27-member bloc.
Giertych "was not speaking in the name of the Polish government," Kaczynski insisted Monday. "Can a sovereign and democratic state oblige a woman who has been raped to have a baby? In my opinion, it cannot," said Kaczynski, head of the main coalition party, the conservative Law and Justice.
The Prime Minister met with his deputy and education minister Roman Giertych today to rebuke him for his critical comments on gays and abortion made at a meeting of EU education ministers in Heidelberg, Germany.
Giertych caused consternation with his appeal to the European Union to completely ban abortion and homosexual propaganda.
EU laws leave these issues up to the governments of the individual member states. Giertych said later that he was speaking on behalf of the Polish government, which clearly angered Prime Minister Kaczynski.
Rumors had been heard earlier that Roman Giertych, leader of the junior coalition party, the nationalist League of Polish Families, might resign but this now appears to be an unlikely step.
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