This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Polish Women Take to the Streets Over Abortion

Poland already has one of most restrictive set of abortion rules in Europe, but the country's legislature is trying to make it even harder for women to get an abortion. The BBC reports on this, as follows:
If the law - which has cleared one parliamentary hurdle so far - goes through it will make Poland's abortion laws as restrictive as those in two other countries in Europe: Malta and the Vatican.
Women found to have had abortions would be punished with a five-year prison term. Doctors found to have assisted in an abortion would also be liable for jail time.
The Catholic Church appears to be the primary pusher of this legislation, but women have taken to the streets to protest--most to protest against the proposed legislation, but some to protest the protesters.
Abortion is already banned in most circumstances in Poland. The current exceptions are:
* where the woman's life is in danger
* where there is a risk of serious and irreversible damage to the fetus
* where the pregnancy is as a result of rape or incest - this must be confirmed by a prosecutor
So, the new law would take away those exceptions. These are the kind of issues that have cropped up regularly in the United States and so it was not surprising that abortion was on the table, so to speak, at tonight's vice-presidential debate between Tim Kaine and Mike Pence. Although Catholic and personally opposed to abortion, Kaine argued that women need to be able to make the decision about an abortion which, after all, is legal in the U.S. Pence thought otherwise. It still astounds me that men really think they should make reproductive decisions for women. We still have a long way to go.

UPDATE: The protests did, in fact, cause Poland's legislature to rethink this legislation and it was voted down.

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