İrem UZUN -TDO- Poland’s parliament has delayed the final decision on a bill that seeks to tighten the country’s already strict abortion legislation. The bill would outlaw abortion on the grounds of serious foetal abnormalities, one of a small number of exceptions to a near-total ban on abortion currently in place in the country. It has been sent back to a parliamentary committee for further work. Polish law currently only allows abortion in cases of rape, danger to the mother's health or life, or severe damage to the fetus.
The abortion bill was being introduced by Kaja Godek, a prominent anti-abortion figure in Poland and head of the Life and Family Foundation. She described the bill as a form of protection for disabled children. She had spearheaded a similar bill in 2018 but faced with countrywide protests.
Another controversial bill is about criminalizing sex education, punishing teachers and promoters of sex education to children under 18 with up to three years in prison. Amnesty International has also criticized this bill. Draginja Nadazdin, the director of Amnesty International Poland states that “its impact would be felt well beyond the classroom, creating a chilling effect on teachers, activists and even on parents who want to talk to their children about sex.”
Protesters in Poland have defied the coronavirus lockdown to oppose those two proposals. Although the public gatherings are banned within the scope of COVID-19 measures, video footages show people in the streets of Warsaw and Poznan on Tuesday considering social distancing and holding placards. On the other hand, an online petition opposing the bills has currently gained more than 700,000 signatures and people started to share videos with hashtag #ProtestAtHome.