Polish Minority Party Wants to Ban Abortions in Lithuania

The party representing the Polish minority in Lithuania plans to submit a draft law that would make abortion illegal in the country.

Rita Tamašunienė and Valdemaras Tomaševskis, representatives of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania - Christian Families Alliance political group, announced on February 20 that they plan to submit a proposal to ban abortions this spring.

"We're talking about the need to consider the Law on the Protection of Prenatal Life, to talk about our country's general policy and our cultural views on life, which are based on Christian values," claimed MP Rita Tamašunienė, who chairs the party's faction in Parliament.

According to MEP Valdemaras Tomaševskis, laws like this have been "successful" in other EU countries, such as Ireland, Portugal, Malta and Poland, although perhaps Tomaševskis spoke a little too hastily about Portugal, which loosened its laws on abortion back in 2007.

Up to 3 years in prison for doctors

The party representing the Polish minority in Lithuania has been gunning for a ban on abortions since 2005. Their latest attempt took place in 2013, when Parliament approved the party's bill at the first reading and passed it on to various committees for consideration.

The bill sought to establish a blanket ban on abortion, with only two narrow exceptions - when the pregnancy poses a risk to the woman's life or health, or when the pregnancy comes about as a result of a crime.

Had the bill been adopted in the end, doctors could have faced up to three years in prison for any abortion.

Failed attempts

Having provoked fierce public debate, the bill was returned to its drafters after the committees had finished considering it and did not make it to a vote in Parliament.

"Sadly, it was blocked by those who always speak about democracy, about parliamentary systems, but who then use such Soviet-style methods to block the deliberation of a bill," claimed Tomaševskis in a press conference. He further complained that the previous version bill he drafted back in 2005 was also blocked by "socialists and liberals."

Health minister against the ban

The bill is slated to be submitted in the spring session of Parliament, due to begin in March. At the same time, when asked to share his opinion on the initiative, the current minister of health, Aurelijus Veryga, stated that he was against the ban and would not support it:

"Regarding banning abortions - I'm not even aware of any idea that somebody should [do it], and rest assured that I myself am not thinking about any ban on abortions. You'll certainly not see any such initiative from me."