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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

A referendum on abortion? Donald Tusk: referendum does not constitute law in Poland

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Even if the turnout is over 50 percent, the referendum does not constitute law in Poland, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said on Tuesday when asked whether a referendum on abortion should be held in Poland. As he said, “I remain skeptical.”

When asked at a press conference about the referendum on abortion, the head of government said that everyone has the right to their own opinion. – I do not want to decide whether the referendum is moral or immoral on this issue – he said. – The problem is that in the Polish legal system, a referendum does not decide anything. Even if the turnout is over 50 percent, the referendum does not constitute law in Poland. We can approve the constitution in a referendum and decide on matters such as joining the European Union. Then the referendum is binding and politicians have nothing to do with it. This is the decision of the people, the nation and that's it, Tusk emphasized.

He emphasized, however, that the referendum on opinions on what the future law should look like is a survey. He stressed that later the Sejm would have to vote on the bill and the president would have to sign it. – The referendum may give politicians comfort because it is easier for some to say: “let the people decide, and I will not have to take any binding position.” Everyone has the right to this approach. The problem is that a referendum is not a decisive form of anything. That's why I remain skeptical about this idea, he added.

– Abortion is not a good thing and in my opinion it will never be a good thing. This must be handled very carefully. We are talking here about a woman's right to decide about her own health, motherhood, and her sense of security – emphasized the Prime Minister. – We will vote on all projects and move them to committee work – he declared.

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Donald Tusk at a press conferencePAP/Radek Pietruszka

Marshal of the Sejm Szymon Hołownia (Poland 2050) said in “One on One” on TVN24 that “we need to hold a referendum and let the public express their opinion in a binding way.” – It cannot be that Macierewicz, Hołownia, Czarzasty, Suski will have the right to decide about the fate of women, and millions of women, including many I know, will be deprived of this right – he added.

Hołownia assessed that “there will be no change in the abortion law for a year and a half, because President (Andrzej) Duda has much more conservative views than what is in Polish law today.”

The Sejm will deal with bills on abortion

The first reading of draft bills on abortion will take place on Thursday, and they will probably be voted on on Friday.

Left MP Anita Kucharska-Dziedzic announced on Tuesday in a conversation with TVN24 reporter Agata Adamek that she would be against the rejection of all projects. She added that “we should debate all of them and take what is best from each of these projects.”

Kucharska-Dziedzic: I will vote against rejecting all projects on abortionTVN24

– I do not need to persuade our MPs from Poland 2050, I do not need to persuade MPs, because we have already agreed that all MPs will vote for all the submitted, i.e. four, projects, but I hope that these projects will pass and that we will continue to discuss them in the committee – said Aleksandra Leo (Poland 2050-TD).

Leo: MPs from Poland 2050 will vote for four projects on abortion

Leo: MPs from Poland 2050 will vote for four projects on abortionTVN24

Regarding the liberalization of abortion regulations, in November last year the Left submitted two bills. One of them partially decriminalizes abortion and assistance in it, the other allows termination of pregnancy until the end of the 12th week of its duration. At the end of January this year, the Sejm received a project by a group of deputies from the Civic Coalition parliamentary club. It assumes that a pregnant person has the right to health services in the form of termination of pregnancy during the first 12 weeks of its duration.

In addition to these projects, at the end of February, Trzecia Droga (PSL and Polska 2050) submitted a bill to the Sejm that reverses the 2020 judgment of the Constitutional Tribunal on abortion regulations. TD politicians also want a referendum to be held on abortion.

The anti-abortion regulations in force in Poland since 1993 were changed after the Constitutional Tribunal's judgment of October 2020. Previously, the Act on family planning, protection of the human fetus and conditions for the admissibility of termination of pregnancy, known as the abortion compromise, allowed abortion also in the case of severe and irreversible fetal impairment. or an incurable disease that threatens his life. The Constitutional Tribunal found this ground for termination of pregnancy to be unconstitutional, which caused a wave of protests throughout the country.

Main photo source: PAP/Radek Pietruszka

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