Parliament rejects bill liberalising abortion laws

Rafał Guz/PAP

The Sejm, the lower house of the Polish parliament, has voted down a citizen's draft law on the safe termination of pregnancy.

The proposed legislation, signed by over 200,000 people, proposed the terminations could be offered free of charge until the 12th week of pregnancy, without asking women for a reason, and beyond the 12th week in case of foetal defects or the pregnancy being the result of a crime, such as rape.

However, the bill was rejected on Thursday by 265 MPs against, 175 for and 4 abstentions.

The draft was submitted earlier in the day to the Sejm by the head of Women’s Strike, the organisation that spearheaded mass abortion protests across Poland last year after a ruling by the country's top court outlawed all abortions except for when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, or when it threatens the health or life of the mother.