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Leading women’s activist presents abortion bill to parliament

"I come to you with a bill that changes the law so that it meets European and world standards as regards protection of women's life and health.," Lempart told MPs.
Radek Pietruszka/PAP

The leader of Women’s Strike, the organisation that spearheaded mass abortion protests last year, has presented a bill liberalising abortion laws to the Sejm, the lower house of the Polish parliament.

All abortion in Poland is now outlawed except when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, or when it threatens the health or life of the mother, following a ruling by the country’s Constitutional Tribunal in October 2020.

On Wednesday night, Marta Lempart, the leader of Women’s Strike, presented on behalf of her organisation, a bill on the safe termination of pregnancy and other reproductive rights. She said, that the draft, a civil initiative signed by over 200,000 people, “introduces health protection standards similar to those that are in force in civilised countries.”

“I come to you with a bill that changes the law so that it meets European and world standards as regards protection of women’s life and health.,” Lempart told MPs.

“I come with a bill that adjusts Polish law to the reality in which we all live, our reality and your reality, including your daughters, sisters, wives, mothers and friends,” she said.

Lempart added that the provisions of the proposed legislation are based “solely on hard data and facts… on what it should be based on – the science of medicine.”

According to her, the bill “not only is consistent with the constitution, but removes from the legal system regulations that are inconsistent with the constitution, inconsistent with science, and inconsistent with European and world standards.”

The bill , Lempart continued, removes “the effects of the recent non-constitutional activities of the team of Ms Przylebska (the head of the Constitutional Tribunal- PAP).”

The proposed legislation offers terminations free of charge until the 12th week of pregnancy, without asking women for a reason, and beyond the 12th week in case of foetal defects or the pregnancy being the result of a crime, such as rape.

However, the initiative has little chance of success in a parliament dominated by the conservative and pro-Catholic Law and Justice party, whose MPs prompted Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal to issue its verdict in October 2020.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Polish government spokesperson said that the bill stands “no chance” of further processing in parliament.


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