Poland’s parliament rejected the controversial citizen’s bill for a near-total ban on abortion by 352 votes to 58. Its legislation on abortion is already one of the most restrictive in Europe and this bill would have prohibited and punished abortion in almost all circumstances. Mass protests across Poland and Europe caused the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) to bow to the pressure in a complete turnaround.
FIDH campaigned vigourously against the bill which also reflects a worrying trend against women’s access to abortion in several European countries. Together with its member organisation, the Polish Society of Anti-Discrimination Law (PSAL), FIDH called on Polish MPs to protect women’s health, rights and lives by voting down the proposal that would have seriously undermined women’s sexual and reproductive rights.
The power of the street and social media taught Poland’s ruling party a humbling lesson that could well be replicated across other European countries who fail to uphold women’s rights.