Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Poland to strengthen its pro-life laws

Steve Ertfelt reports on a recent legislative effort in Poland to strengthen existing protections for the unborn:
Poland lawmakers cast their initial vote on legislation that would ban all abortions in the European nation — supporting a bid to move ahead with legislation that would tighten the nation’s laws already prohibiting most abortions.

The PRO Foundation has organized a grassroots campaign to lobby MPs to support the legislation and the nation’s Catholic bishops have also played an integral role in advancing the legislation. The legislation is the result of a citizen-led initiative drive in which sponsors collected 100,000 signatures over the course of three months but which resulted in collecting 600,000 petitions in just two weeks.

The bill would remove the rape and incest exceptions from the current federal law in Poland and provide protection for pregnant women and unborn children starting at conception. Also, currently, Polish law allows for abortion in cases related to maternal health, if the pregnancy is the result of “illegal activity,” or if the unborn child is disabled.
The historical perspective is a bit intriguing here. Ertfelt points out that abortion became legalized in Poland after the Nazi invasion during WWII, and its abortion laws were most "liberal" (if we must accept the modern misuse of that term) during the reign of communism. Part of this development seems to be Poland's desire to assert itself as a Christian nation, both in reaction to the secularism which once ruled over it and the secularism which now dominates the West.

But what intrigues me the most is the opinion polling done in Poland, which show a surprising degree of uniformity of opinion on this issue among the young.
A survey conducted earlier this month demonstrates a shift in the population’s attitudes about abortion and showed 65% of Poles agree that the law “should unconditionally protect the life of all children since conception,” and 76% of those aged 15 to 24 favor total protection for unborn children. Some 57 percent of those aged 55 to 70 agree that a ban on abortions is appropriate.
It could be that Poland is feeling a resurgence of religious fervor, and that's all that's going on here. But considering the trends in American public opinion, which consistently show increased liberalism on social and religious issues except abortion, I have a small hunch that something else might also be at work.

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