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New Left submits more liberal abortion bill to parliament

The New Left, one of the parties making up an opposition coalition holding a majority in the newly-elected Polish parliament, has submitted a bill aiming to legalise abortion up to the 12th week of pregnancy.

The draft law, which was published on Tuesday on the official web page of the Sejm, the lower house of the Polish parliament, is likely to cause a rift in the newly-formed coalition, which is also composed of the agrarian Polish People’s Party (PSL) and the centre-right Poland 2050. PSL’s conservative voter base would likely hold a critical view of their party’s potential support for the bill, which limits PSL’s possibility of supporting it. Poland 2050 is less restricted in their decision, but also thinks the New Left’s proposals are too radical.

However, the liberalised legislation is likely to gain support from the biggest coalition member, the centrist Civic Coalition, but this may not be enough for the bill to pass.

The draft legislation guarantees medical support in the abortion procedure up to the end of the 12th week of pregnancy, and in certain cases beyond that time.

It also involves, among other things, the introduction of additional regulations on the so-called ‘conscience clause’, the decriminalisation of abortion, and assistance to the pregnant person in terminating their pregnancy.

The so-called conscience clause is a law which allows medical staff to refuse to provide services they deem incompatible with their beliefs, in particular religious ones. It is an element of the strict abortion laws which have been introduced in Poland in the past years.

The alliance of opposition parties that has recently taken the parliamentary majority away from the incumbent socially-conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party has vowed to reverse some of the changes made by PiS during its eight-year rule. 

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