The Sejm, the lower house of the Polish parliament, voted by an overwhelming majority to reject a draft law proposed by the “Stop Abortion” citizens’ initiative. The bill provided for an absolute prohibition on abortion and criminal liability for anyone who causes the death of a fetus. MPs voted to reject the bill by 352 votes to 58, with 18 abstentions
The citizens’ initiative had gathered around 450,000 signatures. However, it was not sponsored by Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party (PiS), therefore its MPs were given a free vote. Protests against the draft law were held across Poland on Monday and appeared to prompt PiS to also turn against the bill. Two weeks ago, PiS MPs voted overwhelmingly to pass the draft to the parliamentary commission for further discussions.
On Wednesday, the Sejm’s committee on justice and human rights, with members from the PiS party and the opposition Civic Platform (PO) joining forces, recommended that the full Sejm reject the draft law. In a lively debate in the Sejm on Wednesday night, PiS MP Tomasz Latos said: “Despite freedom of conscience, despite freedom of voting, no one in PiS wants to punish women.”