Polish MPs are debating an amendment to the Constitution that will further tighten the country’s abortion laws. At present, a woman can terminate a pregnancy only where there’s been rape or incest, where the foetus is severely damaged or the mother’s life is at risk. But the amendment would enshrine a right to life from conception, that could be construed as totally prohibiting abortion. According to women’s groups, this would drive the practice further underground.
They say up to 200,000 Polish women each year ask their doctor to carry out the operation illegally or travel overseas to do so. Newspapers each day carry carefully worded ads offering terminations. And they don’t come cheap, sometimes costing up to two months of an average salary.
Women’s groups moored the so-called “abortion ship” in Polish waters more than three years ago to carry out the operation legally and highlight the issue. MPs are due to vote on the amendment next year. As it takes a two-thirds majority to change the constitution, it is seen as unlikely to pass.