Huge Pro-Life Rally in Poland

On Sunday, 50,000 people took to the streets in Warsaw in one of the largest pro-life events in Poland’s recent history.

The March of Life in Poland’s capital on April 14 took place two days after the left-wing Polish government voted on bills that seek to end the country’s near-total abortion ban.

Bogusław Kiernicki, one of the organizers of the March, told the crowd to gather on Castle Square. “We want every Polish citizen to have the right to life from conception to natural death,” he said.

“It is not an (act of) grace that we allow a child to be born; it is their sacred right.” he added.

The organizers estimate that 50,000 people attended the event, making it the largest pro-life gathering in Poland in the 21st century.

Under Poland’s current law, abortion is only permitted if the mother’s health or life is threatened or in cases of rape. Last week, the ruling government coalition voted in favour of advancing several bills that seek to allow abortion. Two of these bills, put forth by Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s Civic Coalition and The Left would allow abortion on demand up until the 12th week of pregnancy, similar to many other European countries.

However, several legal hurdles would need to be overcome before the bills become law. Each of the bills requires an additional vote in the Sejm to move forward. There is some disagreement among the coalition parties, as the more conservative Third Way might not agree to a 12th-week abortion ban as they favor a more restrictive policy that only allows abortions in cases of rape, health risks for the mother, or fetal abnormalities.

Moreover, if a pro-abortion bill were to be passed by Parliament, it would have to be signed by President Andrzej Duda, who has expressed his pro-life views and is an ally of the former conservative ruling Party PiS. Additionally, the Polish Constitutional Court (TK), which is dominated by conservative judges who previously ruled that aborting unborn children due to fetal abnormalities was unconditional, could strike down a potential pro-abortion law as well.

In light of the potential reversal of the country’s abortion ban, Archbishop Tadeusz Wojda, the chairman of the Polish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, called on the Catholic faithful to “make this Sunday a day of special prayer in defense of conceived life at all churches in Poland at every Holy Mass.”