President’s abortion proposal could soften strict ruling: neonatal society head

In an interview for the Polish Press Agency, the head of the Polish Neonatal Society, Professor Ryszard Lauterbach, said that the draft abortion bill presented by President Duda “is a proposal that could soften a strict ruling by the Constitutional Tribunal, which has not yet been published.”

He said that the continuation of pregnancy, when the child has no chance of surviving is like persistently treating a terminally ill patient. The professor indicated that consciously carrying a terminally ill baby throughout the whole period of pregnancy causes deep trauma for the mother.

He said that when considering this issue, parents should make the decision independently, as “the decision they make will remain on their conscience, as will the question whether it was right.”

The professor also said that the president’s draft bill “alleviates the most tragic part of the ruling.”

On Friday, President Andrzej Duda filed an amended bill with parliament that seeks to moderate a recent, and bitterly opposed, top court ruling on abortion that could result in a near-total ban on terminations.

President Duda said his draft amendment makes abortion possible if the foetus suffers from a terminal condition or when the pregnancy is highly likely to end with the new-born’s death.

The Constitutional Tribunal ruling followed a 2019 motion submitted to the court by 119 MPs, mostly from Law and Justice, the governing party. It unravelled an uneasy abortion compromise enshrined in a 1993 law, which had maintained a fragile balance between the opposing sides for nearly three decades.