Part of opposition bloc backs abortion on request up to 12 weeks

Some members of the Civic Coalition (KO), Poland’s main opposition grouping, are in favour of abortion on request, PAP has learned.

KO member Nowoczesna has drafted a bill proposing the introduction of the so-called “German variant” allowing abortion on request up to 12 weeks of pregnancy following consultations with a doctor and psychologist.

The Greens and the Polish Initiative parties, which also belong to the grouping headed by Civic Platform (PO), the largest opposition party, have said they will back the bill when it comes into the Sejm (lower house).

Poland has seen a series of mass abortion rights protests this winter owing to a Constitutional Tribunal ruling that introduced a near-total ban on abortion.

"We have submitted our draft to the PO's parliamentary caucus and are waiting for the caucus college, that is, its leadership, to consider it," the leader of Nowoczesna, Adam Szlapka, told PAP.

"Nowoczesna's bill could be a new ‘abortion compromise,’ since the previous compromise no longer exists as it was destroyed by (the ruling party Law and Justice - PAP) PiS," the deputy head of the KO caucus and former Nowoczesna chairman Katarzyna Lubnauer added.

The Civic Platform (PO) is divided on the matter. The PO leadership and the head of the so-called team for difficult issues, Deputy Sejm Speaker Malgorzata Kidawa-Blonska, support the liberalisation of the abortion law. However, a group of party conservatives has sent a letter to the party management opposing such a far-reaching liberalisation of the law and the departure from the so-called "abortion compromise" that had been in place since 1993.

The PO leadership is scheduled to meet in the middle of this week to take a decision on the party's parliamentary caucus's position on the abortion issue.

Szlapka said that if the KO parliamentary caucus college fails to back the project, it could be filed as a draft authored by MPs.