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Poland
September 2006 

The Polish Vice Prime Minister is calling for the constitutional protection of unborn life. A real threat of further restrictions on the anti-abortion law in Poland is present. According to the existing bill, termination of pregnancy is legal to save women’s life and health, when the fetus is badly deformed, or when the pregnancy is a result of a crime. Although the law is already restrictive, there is a political initiative to make abortion fully illegal. Roman Giertych, the Polish Vice Prime Minister, also Minister of National Education and President of The League of Polish Families (LPR), a political party, appealed on Saturday to all parliamentarians for their support for the amendment of the article 38 of the Polish Constitution. Article 38 states that “The Republic of Poland shall ensure the legal protection of the life of every human being.” The LPR’s proposal is to add the phrase “from the moment of conception” at the end of the sentence. Giertych claims that the introduction of a constitutional protection for unborn life will be a milestone in realizing John Paul II’s Testament. He also dared to compare “killing unborn babies” with the Holocaust.

The amendment of the Article 38 will be put to the vote in about one week. Giertych has already been assured by the second Vice Prime Minister, Andrzej Lepper, that his party Self-Defence (Samoobrona) will support the amendment. Both parties, The League of Polish Families and Self-Defence are in coalition with the Law and Justice (PiS), the party that won the last election. Everything depends on the decision of the PiS now but still its attitude towards the constitutional amendment remains ambiguous and indefinite. One of the prominent members of PiS, Marek Jurek, Speaker of Parliament, stated on Tuesday that indeed there is a need to guarantee the protection of life from the moment of conception in the Constitution.

The League of Polish Families is known for its nationalistic, fundamental and anti-choice viewpoints. Last year, Maciej Giertych, Roman Giertych’s father and a member of the European Parliament, organized a radical anti-abortion exhibition in the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

The Polish Federation for Women and Family Planning is organizing action against LPR's initiative. If you would like to support the protest against a total ban on abortion in Poland, please sign our open letter: http://www.federa.org.pl/signatures, Thank you for your support!

Magda Pochec

This letter was sent out on the Women in Black listserve on Sept. 7, 2006.