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Poland Wipes out Abortion

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When it comes to curbing abortions, Poland stands as a world leader.

Many politicians and judges have long been reluctant to outlaw abortion because it might result in illegal, back- alley abortions. But one country has proven that fear is groundless.

For 44 years, Poland was dominated by Russia and abortion was not only legal, it was paid for by the government. Then in 1993, after the Iron Curtain fell, the Polish parliament severely restricted abortion.

  "Abortions declined precipitously so that this past year, they only had 250 abortions. So the abortion rate went from 160,000 to 250," said Dr. Jack Willke, of the Life Issues Institute.

Willke, who has spent time in Poland, said pro-abortion groups argue that without legal abortion, women would have illegal, partial abortions and then go to hospitals to finish the so-called "miscarriage."

"Right now, what do we see? There are fewer gynaecologic admissions to Polish hospitals today than there were when abortion was legal," Willke said. "There are fewer women dying of gynaecologic problems."

Lek Koleski, a Polish member of the board of directors of the International Right to Life Committee, said abortion restrictions have helped educate women.

"One year we had abortion on demand again, and only 1,200 women wanted abortions on demand that year," Koleski said. "That means that the previous years had educated people not to use this way of reducing the number of your children."

His conclusion: The law tends to influence opinions.  Poland's experience also shows that fewer women died as a result of pregnancy and childbirth, neonatal births declined and induced abortions performed to save the life and health of the mother also became more rare after abortion laws were passed.

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This Page was Last Updated on Thursday, 25 May 2000.