Taking the High Road
January, “pro-life month,” was characterized by a series of highs and lows. The lowest ebb was marked by the United States Senate voting of 51-46 on the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (60 votes were required). Already passed by the House, with the President’s pledge to sign it, the bill would have banned abortions after 20 weeks. It’s appalling that the United States, whose very constitutional principles are rooted in life and liberty, is one of only seven countries in the world to allow abortions by dismemberment when the baby feels pain. Not only late-term but eugenic abortion (because the child has a handicap or illness) occur routinely. Yet, the same month Poland took the high road and rejected any liberalization of its abortion laws. Which brings one to ask, what can we learn from other, more enlightened nations?
While many countries in the world have laws limiting abortion to twelve weeks, Poland is a rare example of a country where abortion remains for the most part illegal. Since the current legislation was passed in 1993, Poland bans abortions except in cases of rape or incest, serious health risk to the mother, or severe fetal deformities. This amounts to just over 1,000 abortions a year in a country of 38 million people. The Poles want that number even lower.
Recently presented with a draft bill that would have allowed abortion up to 12 weeks, Polish legislators rejected it. Lech Kowaleski, who runs our Polish Affiliate, HLI Europa, says: “[Some] opposition party members voted for life and were punished by their party. I admire their courage! This vote is proof that honest Poles are universally pro-life and transcend party boundaries.” Polish lawmakers next voted to move forward with a pro-life bill prohibiting eugenic abortion on unborn babies with disabilities. Fetal deformities are the reason behind 95 percent of Poland’s legal abortions, so passage of this bill would be a great victory for the unborn.
“There is a very good chance this law limiting eugenic abortion will be passed and the president will certainly sign it.” – Lech Kowaleski, HLI Poland Affiliate
Human Life International reports that a citizens’ petition supporting the new eugenic abortion ban collected 830,000 signatures within two months – more than eight times the number required for legislative debate. Many in today’s age of designer babies have become inured to the eugenics aspect, asking why should a woman carry a baby to term, knowing that the child will have a disability or possibly die before birth? Because there is no difference killing a baby before or after birth.
The Polish Bishops’ Conference clearly articulate this: “Man has no right to decide about the end of life at any stage, because God alone is the Lord of life and death! We are all called to love and receive the weakest, not to kill them. Both believers and non-believers are called to protect life from its conception to natural death. There can be no place for killing other people, especially disabled and sick children!”
If the baby is ill in utero, surely it is better to provide medical care for the baby and mother than resort to eugenic abortions. If the unborn child is expected to die before or shortly after birth, then perinatal palliative hospice care is the answer. Abortion does not spare the child suffering – babies after 20 weeks are dismembered – or the mother, who still grieves. One study showed half of post-abortive women exhibited PTSD four months after aborting the sick child – a mother is a mother, no matter what.
Poland Wants to “Re-Christianize the EU”
Despite the insidious encroachment of secularism, the Catholic faith in Poland remains strong, and many are willing to put that faith into action in a way that gives the rest of the world much hope and encouragement. In October of 2017, in an unprecedented event, an estimated one million people traveled to thousands of different locations around the Polish border to pray the Rosary, with the goal of encircling the entire country with prayer, begging Mary’s protection on the country and for peace in the world. As the faithful prayed for the conversion of the whole world to Christ, their event received support from the Polish Prime Minister and in the following months Polish officials expressed the intent to “re-Christianize the EU”. HLI’s Lech Kowalewski: “After the law changes, a real battle will begin. There will be European Union sanctions and lies in the media. Mainstream media misrepresent the truth! You know how it is in the United States; it is similar in Poland. They want to rule the world and force us to think their way. That’s not Christian thinking, it’s the Culture of Death.”
St. Paul reminds us not to give up hope: “Affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5). May we thank God for the strong faith so alive in Pope Saint John Paul II’s homeland and let us pray that all may persevere, pray, and work for the conversion of hearts and minds to Christ and a Culture of Life throughout the whole world.