Poland Proposes ‘Room To Cry In’ For Women Forced To Give Birth By Abortion Ban
The Polish government has faced outcry for its tone deaf response to the country’s strict abortion ban after suggesting women forced to carry unviable pregnancies should be given a room to cry in.
Women’s rights activists have criticised plans set to be introduced that provide support for women forced to give birth to foetuses with defects, after a spokesperson for the justice ministry said that the draft legislation would aim to support women by creating a ‘personal room’ where they could be given ‘the chance to have a cry’.
The proposal comes after new legislation creating a near-total ban on abortion came into force in Poland this year. The heavily Catholic country now forbids women from terminating pregnancies following the discovery of foetal defects, which previously accounted for around 98% of legal abortions.
Following the introduction of the new law, political parties on all sides have begun debating how to support women who will now be forced to carry and give birth to potentially dangerous pregnancies. United Poland, one of the parties involved in the ruling national-conservative coalition, recently introduced draft legislation to create hospices for women giving birth to foetuses with defects. However, comments on the proposals from a spokesperson for Zbigniew Ziobro – justice minister and leader of United Poland – raised concerns about the tone-deaf nature of the response.
Speaking on Polish TV, spokesperson Agnieszka Borowska explained the hospices ‘will have, for example, a separate room, the chance to have a cry,’ and would also provide ‘special’ psychological care and ‘advice on what to do next’.
The comments have drawn swift pushback from opponents of the abortion ban. Writing on Twitter, journalist Renata Grochal said, ‘I would prefer for the Polish state to do everything so that women do not have to cry,’ while another journalist, Michal Kolanko, noted, ‘I used to watch a series where it was similar, but then I thought it was fiction. It was called The Handmaid’s Tale.’
The government’s leading coalition partner, the Law and Justice party, has not officially commented on United Poland’s proposals. However, one of the party’s MPs has called on the government to ‘present a complex support package for mothers as soon as possible.’
Opposition party The Left has called on those against the ban to support legislation to decriminalise those providing abortions, saying that refusing to terminate pregnancies that could cause physical or emotional harm would create a conflict for doctors who ‘now face the dilemma of whether to help women and thus expose themselves to criminal consequences or to violate their Hippocratic Oath.’
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