Polish govt wants to limit access to morning after pill

February 15, 2017

Poland's conservative government said Wednesday it wants to restrict access to the morning-after pill in the devoutly Catholic country, which already has one of the EU's most restrictive abortion laws.

"Birth control pills are all prescription only and we thought there shouldn't be an exception," government spokesman Rafal Bochenek told news channel TVN24.

The Law and Justice (PiS) government adopted a draft law on Tuesday—Valentine's Day—to this end but it still needs to be approved by parliament.

The has been available over the counter in Poland since 2015 in accordance with European law.

"This bill limits women's reproductive rights," said Katarzyna Labedz from the pro-choice Federation for Women and Family Planning.

She said there is the risk that it will defeat the purpose of the pill, which needs to be taken without delay to be effective.

"We fear that this is yet another restrictive measure and that there will be more to come," Labedz told AFP.

The conservatives, who have been in power since November 2015, have already cut state funding for in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), which involves fertilising an egg outside a woman's body to produce an embryo that can then be implanted into her womb.

Last year, the PiS also tried to tighten the already restrictive abortion law but buckled under pressure from tens of thousands of black-clad women who protested nationwide.

The parliament wound up rejecting the controversial bill that would have allowed abortions only if the woman's life was at risk and increased the maximum jail term for practitioners from two years to five.

Passed in 1993, the current legislation bans all abortions unless there was rape or incest, the pregnancy poses a health risk to the mother or the foetus is severely deformed.

Home to 38 million people, Poland sees fewer than 2,000 legal abortions a year, but women's groups estimate that another 100,000 to 150,000 procedures are performed illegally or abroad.

Explore further: Polish parliament rejects abortion ban after mass protests

Related Stories

Polish parliament rejects abortion ban after mass protests

October 6, 2016
Poland's parliament on Thursday rejected an abortion ban after women staged massive nationwide protests in the devoutly Catholic nation, where the law is already among the most restrictive in Europe.

Polish women hold nation-wide strike against abortion ban

October 3, 2016
Tens of thousands of black-clad women protested across Poland Monday against a proposed near-total abortion ban in the devoutly Catholic country, where the law is already among the most restrictive in Europe.

Conservative Poles rally for near-total ban on abortions

May 15, 2016
Anti-abortion groups held marches across Poland Sunday in support of calls for a near total ban on pregnancy terminations in the staunchly Catholic country, where abortions are already heavily restricted.

Strict law pushes Polish women to have abortions abroad

November 3, 2016
While the streets of Warsaw have been engulfed by vehement protests over the government's plan to further restrict abortion, individual Polish women are struggling daily to find ways of ending their unwanted pregnancies.

Arkansas considers banning 'sex-selection' abortions

February 9, 2017
Arkansas would become the eighth state to ban abortions based solely on whether a woman wants to have a girl or a boy under a measure a House panel approved Thursday that is part of a Republican agenda that started with the ...

Arkansas panel OKs restrictions on 2nd trimester abortions

January 19, 2017
An Arkansas legislative committee voted Thursday to outlaw an abortion procedure that opponents call "savage" and "barbaric" while others deem it the safest way to end a pregnancy in the second trimester.

Recommended for you

Study shows that people most affected by alcohol also most impacted by sleep deprivation

July 17, 2018
A team of researchers from the German Aerospace Center and Forschungszentrum Jülich has found that people who are most susceptible to alcohol intoxication are also most susceptible to cognitive problems due to sleep deprivation. ...

Self-control and obesity: Gender matters in children

July 16, 2018
A toddler's self-regulation—the ability to change behavior in different social situations—may predict whether he or she will be obese come kindergarten, but the connection appears to be much different for girls than for ...

1 in 9 U.S. adults over 45 reports memory problems

July 13, 2018
(HealthDay)—If you're middle-aged and you think you're losing your memory, you're not alone, a new U.S. government report shows.

Antioxidant benefits of sleep

July 12, 2018
Understanding sleep has become increasingly important in modern society, where chronic loss of sleep has become rampant and pervasive. As evidence mounts for a correlation between lack of sleep and negative health effects, ...

Footwear habits influence child and adolescent motor skill development

July 11, 2018
New research finds that children and adolescents who spend most of their time barefoot develop motor skills differently from those who habitually wear shoes. Published in Frontiers in Pediatrics, this is the first study to ...

How a Mediterranean diet could reduce osteoporosis

July 11, 2018
Eating a Mediterranean-type diet could reduce bone loss in people with osteoporosis—according to new research from the University of East Anglia.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Varsovian
not rated yet Feb 15, 2017
Correction of fact: Law and Justice is opposed to the tightening of abortion laws. It did not propose the Bill on tightening abortion laws that went before the house in 2016 - that was a citizen's petition from a Catholic grouping. Law and Justice voted against it within two weeks of the Bill being presented and it was rejected at the first stage by a majority of around 400. The party leader of Law and Justice is personally extremely opposed to the tightening of abortion laws. This runs counter to the well-established position of the Catholic Church.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.