Amnesty International opposes anti-abortion effort in Poland


WARSAW, Poland (AP) — A human rights watchdog called on Poland’s conservative government Tuesday to give assurances it will not back efforts to further tighten the nation’s restrictive abortion law.

A civic group, Foundation Pro, is seeking to ban abortion except to save a woman’s life, and says it has enough support to make lawmakers consider it this year. In any other case, anyone who performs an abortion or instigates it would face up to five years in prison.

The law currently also allows an abortion if the pregnancy results from crime, like rape or incest, or the fetus is incurably deformed.

Amnesty International published a letter from its secretary-general, Salil Shetty, to Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo requesting assurance that her government, largely composed of Roman Catholics, will not support the initiative. Szydlo has said she backs the plan. Her seven-month-old government is focused on promoting and supporting large families to boost the falling birthrate.

The letter said that, should Poland adopt the regulations, it would be breaching its international obligations.

“If passed into law, this proposal will violate women’s and girls’ human rights, including their right to life, health and to be free from torture and other cruel, inhuman or and degrading treatment or punishment,” the letter said.

Another civic committee is gathering support for a liberalization of the current law.