Polish MPs have today voted to delay two bills that if approved would have further restricted access to abortion and ban sex education.
Pro-choice campaigners hailed the decision, which will see the two controversial pieces of legislation sent back to committee stage.
Human rights activists have condemned the “retrogressive” bills and especially their timing, pointing out that due to the coronavirus lockdown campaigners were not able to gather to protest the law.
“The ultra-conservative ruling party is taking advantage of the enormous hardship faced by Polish people to continue its relentless series of attacks on women and young people’s safety and wellbeing,” said the International Planned Parenthood foundation in a statement.
Poland already has strict abortion laws that only allow termination of pregnancy in cases of rape, incest or when the health of the baby or mother is compromised. The new law would have effectively outlawed abortions.
The second law would have criminalised sexuality education.
“While it is shameful that parliamentarians did not reject these two retrogressive proposals unequivocally, today’s vote is a testament to the power of protest, even and especially, during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Draginja Nadazdin, the Director of Amnesty International Poland in a statement.