Monday, March 05, 2007

Catholic Constitution

WARSAW (AFP) - More than 1,200 people marched in Warsaw on Sunday to urge changes to Poland's restrictive abortion laws and counter a bill to have a "right to life from the moment of conception" added to the country's constitution.

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Abortion is only allowed in Poland in cases of rape, incest, danger to the mother's life or irreversible malformation of the foetus. Breaking the law carries a two-year jail term.

Last week a parliamentary commission came out in favour of a proposal by the ultra-Catholic far right League of Polish Families (LPR) to have a "right to life from the moment of conception" written into the constitution, which would prevent any liberalisation of the abortion law in the future.

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Bolstering their claim, Polish deputy prime minister and LPR chief Roman Giertych called at a meeting of European Union education ministers last week for a complete ban on all abortions throughout the 27-member bloc.

He also pushed for the EU to fight against "homosexual propaganda."

When Poland was a member of the Soviet bloc abortion was freely available, as it was elsewhere in communist countries. But severe limits were placed on it in 1993 legislation after the fall of communism.

Feminist organisations say that a total ban would only strengthen an already flourishing back street abortion industry.

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