Polish Language Blog

Abortion in Poland? Posted by on Oct 1, 2012 in Culture, Current News, Regulations

The battle lines over the contentious issue of abortion were drawn up again after two parties tabled contrasting bills hoping to change the Poland’s abortion law.

The Law and Justice (PiS) splinter party United Poland (SP) has proposed a tightening of the already restrictive abortion law (ustawa o aborcji) while the socially liberal Palikot Movement (RP) has gone in the opposite direction calling for women to be allowed to undergo an abortion until the twelfth week of pregnancy.

Under the current law, drafted back in 1993, abortion is prohibited in nearly all circumstances except when pregnancy is due to rape, pregnancy endangers the life of the mother or if the foetus carries a deformity.

United Poland however, proposes scrubbing the last of these exceptions, which it has branded “eugenic abortions”.

United Poland believes that you should not be allowed to kill children because they are suspected of being disabled. The party has proposed within its draft bill an increase in financial help to people looking after disabled children, and states that arguments claiming the country cannot afford this are morally groundless.

While the United Poland party can count on the support of Law and Justice and, perhaps, more conservative members of Civic Platform (PO), it will still have to contend with the bulk of the party, which favours leaving things as they are.

Jaroslaw Katulski, a PO MP, said during a debate in parliament that the so called “compromise” between church and state enshrined in the current law worked well and therefore “it was necessary to preserve the status quo”.

But more vocal opposition came from the ranks of the Palikot Movement, branding it a “sadistic” solution as it would deprive parents of choice and possibly “force them into a life of suffering”.

While the United Poland bill will find it hard to make any headway, Palikot Movement could find the going equally tough, albeit it in the opposite direction. While the influence of the Catholic Church is waning as people adopt more secular and liberal beliefs, there has been little political inclination to change the current laws.

Do następnego razu… (Till next time…)

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About the Author: Kasia

My name is Kasia Scontsas. I grew near Lublin, Poland and moved to Warsaw to study International Business. I have passion for languages: any languages! Currently I live in New Hampshire. I enjoy skiing, kayaking, biking and paddle boarding. My husband speaks a little Polish, but our daughters are fluent in it! I wanted to make sure that they can communicate with their Polish relatives in our native language. Teaching them Polish since they were born was the best thing I could have given them! I have been writing about learning Polish language and culture for Transparent Language’s Polish Blog since 2010.


  1. russ:

    Even the so-called “compromise” (which is extremely anti-choice compared to most other first-world countries) is not really respected in practice in Poland: women who legally should be able to get an abortion often receive a bureaucratic run-around from doctors refusing to perform it. E.g. the famous case of Alicja Tysiąc.

    If men could get pregnant, abortion would be legal, safe, cheap, and easily available – in Poland and everywhere else…

  2. Marie Reimers:

    I hope that the more socially conservative end can hold the line on things. Poland is already in a demographic decline. Abortion hurts women. There are other ways to resolve the issues of unwanted children. While men pretend that this is about women, in fact it is men who benefit most from abortion and women who are hurt the most.

  3. Patrick:

    I think safe, legal and cheap abortion in the first twelve weeks is quite reasonable. The sentence “United Poland believes that you should not be allowed to kill children because they are suspected of being disabled” seems a bit biased, given that it is at best arguable that fetuses less than twelve weeks old are “children”.

    But any abortion for whatever reason should also be as rare as possible, and the Church and other conservative actors could do much to achieve that by focusing a lot of their efforts on educating on contraception and making it as easy as possible to use it.

  4. russ:

    > “There are other ways to resolve the issues of unwanted children.”

    Indeed there are. But “the more socially conservative end” tends to ALSO oppose the OTHER ways which demonstrably help lower unwanted pregnancy rates (e.g. better sex education, cheap or free contraception, the right to get a vasectomy, etc.) and instead propose wishful-thinking methods like abstinence-only sex education, which demonstrably doesn’t work.