For everyone who has been watching the abortion legislation furore in Poland, good news! Or at least in part. A Press Release today from the Federation for Women and Family Planning, Poland has announced a defeat to the possible Constitutional changes which would have resulted in a permanent ban on abortion in Poland. Poland still has the most stringent rules on abortion and a de facto ban however this is, at least not written into the constitution.
Constitutional change rejected by the Polish Parliament
Yesterday the Polish Parliament rejected 5 amemdments to the Polish Constitution that could result in full ban of abortion in Poland.
Supporters of the Constitutional change had majority but they were not able to collect 2/3 of votes necessary for the change. Out of 460 members of Parliament, 443 participated. 269 MPs voted in favor of the change, 121 – against, 53 – abstained. In order to win they should have 27 votes more.
The leader of the League of Polish Families Roman Giertych made a statement soon after the voting that his party is going to continue efforts to strengthen legal protection of life.
Worringly, however The Independent today carries front page news that we may soon face a shortage of doctors performing abortions in the UK. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have warned more doctors than ever are refusing to take part in abortions – not just on ethical grounds but because it isn’t seen as a rewarding area of medicine and they are not rostered to clinics when in training. Because of the drop in weekly hours from 120 to around 60 for trainee doctors, student doctors can now choose their elective placements and many don’t see terminations as a worthwhile choice, despite evidence from gynecologists and obstetricians that it is as rewarding as maternity care. But student doctors also have the right to refuse to attend any training on the issues of abortion, post-abortion care and abortion counselling.
A key factor is what specialists call “the dinner party test”. Gynaecologists who specialise in fertility treatment creating babies for childless couples are almost universally revered – but no one boasts of being an abortionist. The Independent
So Poland narrowly avoids enshrining it’s anti-abortion position in the country’s constitution and the UK may have to start refusing abortions on the basis of a lack of doctors to perform the procedures. A woman’s right to choose is being eroded here and elsewhere and yet, we’re often told, women have never had it so good….