Poland has a tough abortion law, but lots of abortions happen anyway. Now, lawmakers are working on changing the law.


Poland’s parliament is finally discussing changing its strict abortion law. The country has one of the toughest abortion laws in Europe, but many women still end pregnancies at home using pills from abroad.

Lawmakers will talk about four different ideas. Right now, abortion is controlled by a law from 1993, which was influenced by the Catholic church. It became even stricter in 2020 after a court ruling.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk wants to legalize abortion up to the 12th week of pregnancy. He says it should be up to the woman to decide, not religious leaders or politicians.

Many people hoped lawmakers would talk about this sooner. But some conservative politicians didn’t want to discuss it until after recent local elections.

It’s unclear what will happen next. President Andrzej Duda can stop laws he doesn’t like, and the parliament speaker, Szymon Hołownia, can also block changes. Some people accuse him of delaying the debate.

Activists who support abortion rights are not allowed to watch the debate in the parliament building. They say the speaker is abusing his power.

Interest in the debate is high. Lawmakers will vote on Friday to decide if they will keep talking about the proposals.

Right now, doctors in Poland can only do abortions if the woman’s health or life is in danger, or if the pregnancy is a result of a crime. But many doctors won’t do abortions even when it’s allowed.

There are about 120,000 abortions a year in Poland, but only 161 were done legally in hospitals in 2022. Activists help women get pills from abroad or travel for the procedure.

Some bills want to change the law to allow abortions up to the 12th week of pregnancy, while others want to keep it the same or make it stricter.

Overall, the debate shows the complicated situation surrounding abortion rights in Poland.


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