The draft law on the Polish Institute of Family and Demography aroused great emotions in the Sejm on Tuesday. During the first reading, there was a heated debate in the plenary hall. According to the opposition, “this is a project for PLN 30 million to promote the conservative Catholic model of the family and the world chosen by the applicants.” The deputies pointed out that the bill was presented by Bartłomiej Wróblewski from PiS, responsible for the referral to the Constitutional Tribunal regarding the ban on abortion in Poland.
The project of the Polish Family and Demography Institute concerns the establishment of a new public institution dealing with comprehensive studies of the processes taking place in the sphere of demography in its socio-cultural context. On behalf of the applicants, the bill was presented by MP Bartłomiej Wróblewski from Law and Justice.
Dominika Chorosińska from PiS said that “in order to support families, it is necessary to effectively identify problems and development barriers to the establishment and successful functioning of families”. She emphasized that such institutes operate all over the world. Of the Visegrad Group, Poland is the only country that does not have such an institute.
The opposition criticizes the project of the Polish Institute of Family and Demography
Monika Rosa from the Koalicja Obywatelska club submitted a motion to reject the project at first reading. She said that “this is not a project to protect Polish families and talk about Polish families.” – This is a project for PLN 30 million to promote the conservative Catholic model of the family and the world chosen by the applicants – she said.
In her opinion, the institute “will be another tool to control the lives of Polish women and Poles, to enter their lives with shoes.” – Sad, cynical and soulless that a man wants to care for fertility, Mr. Wróblewski, who initiated the application to the Tribunal, which prohibited abortion in Poland, because of which women are afraid of getting pregnant, worrying about their health and life – she said . – Institute of Family and Demography. Mrs. Izabela from Pszczyna also had her own family – she added.
She pointed out that the draft assumes that “the president will be appointed for seven years and practically irrevocable”, who will be able to request the initiation of proceedings in civil matters relating to families, family matters, in particular relating to the relationship between parents and children, will be able to participate in proceedings concerning establishing an adoption relationship, juvenile matters, or will be able to join, for example, divorce proceedings.
Allegations of great competence and lack of responsibility of the Institute
Wanda Nowicka, on behalf of the Lewica club, also submitted a motion to reject the bill at first reading. She said that the project assumes the establishment of an institution that will have enormous powers and no responsibility.
– Receives competences of other institutions, such as: Central Statistical Office, social policy, even the prosecutor’s office. It will be an institution that will enter the private life of Polish women and Poles with shoes, to influence our lives and force them to give birth, to intervene in divorce cases, or when teenagers want to terminate their pregnancy – Nowicka pointed out.
The deputy of the Left said that “the institute wants to limit the role of the Human Rights Defender, it is to be its controller and reviewer”. – He could examine whether the goals and activities of a given party are consistent with the Constitution – added the deputy from the Left.
PSL, Confederation and Poland 2050 rejecting the project
On behalf of the Coalition of the Polish People’s Party, Bożena Żelazowska pointed out that “most of the tasks of the institute are already carried out by local governments”. – Is it not enough to help the supposedly well-functioning Ministry of Family and Social Policy and local governments? – asked the deputy. – Why does the government not use the experience of local governments? she asked, pointing to the “Large Family Card” as an example.
Dobromir Sośnierz from the Confederation Circle drew attention to the excessively high operating costs of the institute. On behalf of the Polska 2050 club, Hanna Gill-Piątek also submitted a motion to reject the project at first reading.
– Now we, the taxpayers, will pay for their sick delusions, which look as if they were written not by Polish MPs, but by fundamentalists sponsored by the Kremlin. Under the name of the Polish Institute of Family and Demography, there is not a new institution that cares about the basic social cell, but an inquisitorial tribunal, which will have prosecution powers, she said. – Combined with the pregnancy registry, it will be a real hammer on women’s rights, civil liberties and the real welfare of the family – she added.
Paweł Szramka, on behalf of the Polskie Sprawy club, called for withdrawal from the draft act on the Polish Family and Demography Institute, pointing out that the institute is not currently the greatest need of Poles. – Polish families need low taxes, transparent, simple and friendly law and, above all, that politicians should not be so intrusive into their lives with shoes – he pointed out.
Deputy Minister Barbara Socha defends the project of the Institute of Family and Demography
Deputy Minister of Family and Social Policy, Barbara Socha, pointed out that the demographic collapse in Poland has lasted for 20-25 years. She noted that “the biggest problem since the beginning of the transformation, that is in 1989 in the demographic context, is that the demographic boom of martial law, which should have echoed this boom in the early 2000s, was not used”.
– The years 2002 and 2003 are the years when the fewest children were born in Poland since World War II – Deputy Minister Socha said, noting that “there were relatively many women who could give birth to these children”. “There were over 10 million of them then,” she said.
She stated that last year, when the number of births was low, excluding the pandemic, there were 8.8 million women in the reproductive age in Poland. – The belief that one instrument as radical, expensive and large as the 500 Plus program was to reverse demographic trends proves the lack of elementary knowledge in the field of demography – said Deputy Minister Socha.
She indicated that “research and knowledge-based policy are needed”. She said demographic policy is not for one term, two or a decade, but several decades ahead. – We want there to be continuity of this policy, coherence and comprehensiveness, also after the change of government – argued Socha.
Project of the Polish Institute of Family and Demography
The authors of the project believe that achieving the demographic goals is possible only on the basis of reliable and comprehensive scientific research and multidimensional activities carried out in a continuous and consistent manner. They indicate the need for ongoing monitoring of trends related to the broadly understood demography and the development of appropriate recommendations in order to counteract the occurrence of negative phenomena in this area.
The draft act provides for the establishment of a new public institution – in the form of a state legal entity – responding to the above-mentioned challenges, especially in the field of conducting scientific research on demography and developing appropriate recommendations resulting from them, at the same time with a high degree of independence from executive authorities, by the nature of things filled as a result of political decisions.
The President of the Institute will be entitled, inter alia, to participate in proceedings, applications for legislative initiative and initiate relevant changes in local law.
Main photo source: Tomasz Gzell / PAP