Polish lawmakers today refused to kill proposed anti-abortion legislation that calls for prison sentences of as long as two years for anyone assisting a woman obtaining an abortion in this overwhelmingly Catholic nation.
After a morning of agitated discussion on the extremely controversial bill, the Sejm, or lower house of Parliament, rejected, 230 to 120 with 32 abstentions, a motion to reject consideration of a bill “for the protection of the unborn child.”
The proposed bill is backed by the powerful Roman Catholic Church despite surveys showing that a majority of the people in Poland oppose it.
It would replace Communist-era legislation that basically provides for abortions on demand in Poland, which lacks a reliable supply of such alternative contraceptive devices as birth-control pills or diaphragms. Condoms became available only within the last year.