Today, Polish Parliament has voted on civic draft bills that (if introduced) would effectively ban abortion and criminalize sexuality education. The voting took place amidst COVID-19 outbreak, making it impossible to organise a street protest such as the famous Black Protest of 2016.
Over half of the members of Polish Parliament voted against rejection of both bans. The bills were not rejected, but not introduced either – both documents will be forwarded to parliamentary committees for further works. This means that there still is a chance of the bills being introduced, the decision whether to do so was simply postponed indefinitely.
Unsurprisingly, the ruling party (Law and Justice), as well as the radical right voted in favour of the bills, while centrist liberals and the left voted for dissmisal of both projects.
As a reminder – Poland has one of the most strict abortion laws in Europe, allowing for the procedure to be performed only in cases of the pregnancy being a result of a crime, a risk to motherâ€™s health or life or when the phoetus is malformed. However, womens rights activist in the country have been noting that even when the conditions are met, doctors often deny their patients of service and women and pregnant persons are forced to carry the pregnancy to term.
Sexuality education is currently an extracurricular subject. Proposed ban aims to criminalise teaching comprehensive sexuality education in schools, stop doctors from prescribing contraceptives for anyone under 18 and put carers at risk of imprisonment if they talk to youth about sexuality.