Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Poland must give women right to choose

A parliamentary committee of the Council of Europe has recommended that all 47 states belonging to the Council should ensure legal access to abortion – and that includes Malta, Ireland, Poland and ...Andora, which at the moment, only do in very special circumstances.

The Left Democrats have supported the demand, as the equal opportunities committee of the Council of Europe puts it: “Women must be allowed freedom of choice and offered the conditions of a free and enlightened choice."

The Council of Europe, it must be remembered, is not the same thing as the European Union – even if the EU did steal its flag and anthem from the CoE. The CoE is much older than the EU and has 47, not 27 members. Russia has been a member since 1996. One of its main functions is running the European Court of Human Rights, and presides over the European Convention of Human Rights.

Though the Court is an exercise in International Law, different states have signed up to different protocol. It’s a pick and mix international law. For instance, though Article 12 of the Convention is entitled The Right to Marry, this only refers to the traditional, heterosexual variety. And in spite of several groups representing people like Brendan Fay having appealed through the Court for same sex marriages to be recognised, the Council holds that individual states have room for maneuver over that kind of issue.

And same goes for issues like abortion and the right to choose.

Poland has found itself in trouble with the Court of Human Rights over an abortion issue before. The ruling, which went against Poland, found that despite a right to an abortion in Poland if the mother’s health be seriously threatened, no legal means was available to Alicja Tysiac.

So a general ruling on abortion for member states to follow is not probable, though individual rulings do occur often. The parliamentary committee can’t change the constitution of the Council, so Poland will not have to change its law.

But the resolution by a parliamentary committee comes at a great time for Jaroslaw Kaczynski’s Law and Justice party, who are battling over the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty in parliament, warming that gay marriages, abortion - and satanic rituals compulsory in all Tesco’s supermarkets every Sunday morning between 10 and 11 a.m. – will be coming through Poland’s now open border to a small farm somewhere near YOU!

Quite what the Council of Europe does will be obscured from many of us, and its use is dubious. For Poles to win the right to choose they are going to have to fight for it at home, not in Strasbourg. And Russia is in the Council of Europe. So what about the Rights? But the Council of Europe has raised the question of sovereignty, at a time of sudden and heated battle in the parliament over Lisbon, the EU and sovereignty.


Anonymous said...

I believe it's spelled "Strasbourg."

Sovereignty is what has been at issue since Poland joined the COE in 1991, and began negotiating accession to both NATO and the EU shortly thereafter. That has always been the fundamental issue--arguments about specific policies such as abortion and gay marriage are just quibbling over details.

varus said...

If i gay couple are married abroad, what happens to their legal status while in Poland, or anyother country that doesn't recognise the marriage of gays? Do they still keep the next of kin rights and joint property ownership rights etc?

Anonymous said...

What’s the point of highly restrictive abortion laws when all you need do is walk across any of Poland’s border to a jurisdiction that has abortion on demand? These laws only effect the poorest and least educated women in Poland if you have money you can get an abortion easily in Poland or across the border. For all of the efforts of the anti-abortion forces, is it fair to say they have virtually no affected the number of abortions being performed?

After the fall of communism abortion was no longer a common method of birth control, as better quality contraceptives were made available.

In this facet of the struggle between medieval Poland and the modern world, our main stream politician see no self interest in taking on the church in this issue. In the big picture taking on these forces is essential to Poland’s progress, the Catholic Church has only luke warm support when it comes to participating in Polish politics and trying to enforce Catholic doctrine through the force of law. With the church already damaged by the informer’s scandal and the attempt to cover up the sexual abuse of children, it would be a good time to take them on.

Who controls reproductive choice the state or the owner of the body in question?

Poles know need to liberate themselves from commie sympathizing pedophile priests who still promote keeping an entire nation on it’s knees in mental servitude to religious believes no more valid than the ranting of some tribal witch doctor in the Amazon.

Religion is poison!

beatroot said...

These laws only effect the poorest and least educated women in Poland

Same in Ireland – the difference is that there are much less poor in Ireland than in Poland. Aside from the principle at stake, that is what I find so nauseating about the historical ‘compromise.’

But the point is – how to get those rights? And I don’t think through international courts is the way to go. It is important that somebody, like Jan says, ‘has the guts’ in Poland and does it through Polish institutions...but I think it will have to come from outside parliament in that case...most of them in there have less guts than a bowl of flaki in a doll’s house kitchen.

Unknown said...

Jan - Ditto! Christopher Hitchens couldn't have said it better himself... Although, I seem to remember you blasting me just a few months ago for critisizing polish church and its grip on polish society...

Anonymous said...

Hitchens: middlebrow puke. The personification of bloviation. The gentifier of unbelief. Nihilism for bourgeois bohemians.

Sorry but wholely secular atheistic values provide no innoculation against credulity, banality, madness, and butchery.

Hitler, Pol Pot, Mao, Stalin, Hitchens, etc.

beatroot said...

Geez, don't be silly.

Anonymous said...

Hitchens is one of the main cheerleaders for the war in Iraq. He is one of the leading advocates of upping the ante in what he sees as a war for western civilization against "Islamofascism." An atheist crusader.

Some snippets from: The Dangerous Atheism of Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris... an article by Chris Hedges in Alternet


"The new atheists embrace a belief
system as intolerant, chauvinistic and bigoted as that of religious fundamentalists. They propose a route to collective salvation and the moral advancement of the human species through science and reason. The utopian dream of a perfect society and a perfect human being, the idea that we are moving towards collective salvation, is one of the most dangerous legacies of the Christian faith and the Enlightenment. Those who believe in the possibility of this perfection often call for the silencing or eradication of human beings who are impediments to human progress. They turn their particular good into a universal good. They are blind to their own corruption and capacity for evil. They soon commit evil, not for evil's sake but to make a better world.

There is nothing in human nature or human history to support the idea that we are *morally* advancing as a species or that we will overcome the flaws of human nature. We progress technologically and scientifically, but not morally. We use the newest instruments of technological and scientific progress to create more efficient forms of killing, repression and economic exploitation, and to accelerate environmental degradation. There is a good and a bad side to human progress. We are not moving towards a glorious utopia. We are not moving anywhere.

Religious institutions, moreover, should be separated from the religious values imparted to me by religious figures, including my father. Most of these men and women frequently ran afoul of their own religious authorities. Religion, real religion, was about fighting for justice, standing up for the voiceless and the weak, reaching out in acts of kindness and compassion to the stranger and the outcast, living a life of simplicity, finding empathy and defying the powerful. It was about caring for the other. Spirituality was not defined by "how it is with me," but the tougher spirituality of resistance, the spirituality born of struggle, of the fight with the world's evils. This spirituality, vastly different from the narcissism of modern spirituality movements, was eloquently articulated by Dr. King and the Lutheran minister Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was imprisoned and put to death by the Nazis.

Many of these atheists, like the Christian fundamentalists, support the imperialist projects and preemptive wars of the United States as a necessity in the battle against terrorism and irrational religion. They divide the world into superior and inferior races, those who are enlightened by reason and knowledge and those who are governed by irrational and dangerous religious beliefs. Hitchens and Harris describe the Muslim world, where I spent seven years, most of them as the Middle East bureau chief for the New York Times, in language that is as racist, crude and intolerant as that used by Pat Robertson or the late Jerry Falwell. They are a secular version of the religious right. They misuse Darwin and evolutionary biology, just as the Christian fundamentalists misuse the Bible, by trying to argue that we can evolve morally -- something Darwin never asserted. They are as anti-intellectual as the Christian Right.

And while the atheists do not have much power and are not a threat to the democratic state, they engage in the same chauvinism and call for the same violent utopianism of the radical Christian Right. They sell this under secular banners, but this does not excuse it. They believe, like the Christian Right, that we are moving forward to a paradise, a state of human perfection made possible by science and reason. They argue, like these Christian radicals, that some human beings, maybe many human beings, have to be eradicated to achieve this better world.

Anonymous said...

Abortion. The main reason why Islam is going to take over Western Europe. Any man who would fight to protect a society which believes in the 'right to choose' is a total fool!

beatroot said...

No, Islam will not take over Europe. You are as deluded as G W Bush, Hitchens et al. I know you don't believe in individual determination in pretty much anything, but that is the downsode of religion.

Geez - atheism is not necessarily pro or anti war. You mean a militant ANTI-theism, which is a different thing entirely.

And it's Hitchens at al's definition of 'Islamofascism' that is a problem here, not the atheism bit. This, to them, is about 'fascism' in the guise of religion. Hitchens, like our friend above, seem to think that Islam has the power to 'change our (the West's) way of life'. It simply will not. But it shows the real problem - not a threat from religion but a threat coming from within the west itself, which finds it hard to find shared and confident values with which we can unite around. It's more a lack of self confidence in a secular worldview that is a danger to us, not religion.

Anonymous said...

Atheism isn’t the issue here, believe what you will and worship freely, just don’t forcibly make me abide by your believes without my consent. I would not have such a problem with a strict anti-abortion law if Polish women could have voted on the issue; perhaps this is a place for a referendum where only women should be allowed participation. Even under such circumstances there could be an argument made that the state having control of the reproductive choices a women can make represents the tyranny of the majority.

Anonymous said...

Good and ample reason for that lack of confidence, I'd say, but damn good response. Maybe a dose of non-secular religion would help? Yah, I tink so.

How are Poles taking the drubbing to the US yesterday, BTW? A bit of a problem defending set pieces, heh?

I saw the photos at the Wisla website with Magic and K-ek looking really, really old and hammered. No photos of Bak to be seen... I spoze coz he's always out of the way of the play. Why not give some of the younger players a chance, especially in friendlies???

beatroot said...

would not have such a problem with a strict anti-abortion law if Polish women could have voted on the issue; perhaps this is a place for a referendum where only women should be allowed participation.

There is certainly a case for a referendum on this subject and it would be a very interesting one indeed and the result would be slose in POland.

Football (sorry soccer).

Beenhakker, coach, said that some players have blown their chances to play i Euro 2006 this summer. But a friendly match is not really a good barometer of a team's form. So that is the way that media os covering it here. Also people are saying that US has improved a lot in ten years, which is undoubtedly true.

Anonymous said...

'No, Islam will not take over Europe.'

Islam forbids abortion. Islam expects its adherents to have large families.

Europeans do not believe in having children anymore. The birthrate of white europeans is dropping below the level needed to maintain a stable population (2.1 children per woman). To compensate the EU seems to have a policy of unrestricted immigration from North Africa of Muslim people.

Between these two things I see Europe becoming Islamic.

Anonymous said...

Too bad you'll never get laid.

C'mon, not everybody is so foolish to believe that you are actually a Muslim named whatever.

Anonymous said...

hindu fu-dung

You referring to me? Kerdasi Amaq is not an Islamic name. It is an invented name with a special politically incorrect meaning!

Frank Partisan said...

I'm sure Hitchens, if he was honest, knows Islamifascism is as ridiculous as Islamophobia.

Abortion will be won on the streets.

roman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
roman said...

Birth rate statistics point to a majority Muslim population for Western Europe within a few generations. Spinning these stats to different conclusions represent self-delusional wishful thinking.
Maybe its not such a bad idea to start incorporating sharia in the general laws as the chief vicar of England suggested. Why O.K. "choice" now...when in only a few years this will only be overturned and outlawed as per strict adherence to the anticipated new sharia-based EU constitution. They call that majority rule, don't they?

beatroot said...

Birth rate statistics point to a majority Muslim population for Western Europe within a few generations.

Sorry, but I just think that is such a dumb thing to say. So every baby born from a 'muslim' family is going to turn into a jihadist?

The 'Muslim' community in the west is as varied as the catholic 'community'. Think POlish catholics, Irish catholics, Brazilian catholics, Malaysian catholics. Think poor catholics, think rich ones, think educated ones think the opposite.


And also - as families income increases so the size of the family decreases. So don't be expecting the calophate in Europe anytime soon.

Really ridiculous comment that one, mate.

Anonymous said...


I find your post advising Catholic Poland to embrace abortion on demand as very poorly thought out. First, you avoid the fundamental issue of what constitues a human person, and when human life begins.
Most pro-choice arguments outright deny the humanity of the unborn in the face of mounting medical evidence to the contrary (3-D sonograms anyone?).
Other pro-abortion arguments use a sliding scale - the unborn only gradually become human during the nine months of gestation. To me, this is a ridiculous proposition that has its roots in the slave trade mentality.
Perhaps you should explain how something that isn't human becomes human after it passes thru the birth canal.
Second, regarding your dismissal of the argument that Muslims have the demographics working for them - what can one say except that the ghost of Neville still seems to haunt some Western European minds.

Anonymous said...

Choice is freedom. The notion that human life exists at the moment of conception is not a scientific position but a religious argument and really should be viewed as irrelevant to the argument. The point at which human life can exist out of the womb without medical intervention should be the moment society recognizes the entity as human and meriting legal rights.

This notion that the Islamics are going to take over because their out breeding us is nuts as it applies to nearly every group in the third world. The low birthrate countries typically consisting of North America, Europe and Russia compared to nearly everyone else. For some reason we are not endangered by vigorously breeding Africans or Indians?

Anonymous said...

Choice is freedom?

Some folks choose to hate immigrants, even to the point of reducing them to sub-human status from which their opppresion and even murder is justified as moral.

One individual or group's freedom, another individual or groups demise and destruction.

Please also consider that the point at which the human fetus, due to scientific advances, can survive outside the womb is getting earlier and earlier. What is it? About five months now? I wouldn't doubt if in 10 years it will be down to three months. One week, three months. What's the big difference?

Without medical intervention? Well, let's do without medical intervention altogether then, for adults and fetuses alike of all ages.

Anonymous said...

Dear jannowak57:

I find it amusing that you would consider religioulsy based arguments as "irrelevant", but what you believe to be the "scientific" ones as infallible. Communists preached that message in the past also - a false dichotomy then and now.
Prehaps you could explain to us, say, using logical arguments alone, how a mere technical inability to keep an unborn baby ("entity" in your lingo) alive outside the womb proves that it is not human, and vice versa. Frankly, I can't fit this line of thought into any logical framework.
Think also how this may be applied to the disabled - do they forefit their humanity because medicine may not have the ability to keep them alive?
As far as Islam is concerned, the argument here applies to Western Europe - there, a population exchange is a very real possibility.
I think you need to clear your focus to see both issues better, without that Western European politically correct fog and confusion.

Anonymous said...

2 funny.

beakerkin said...


The only relevant opinion in internal Polish policies is that of the Polish people and their elected leaders.

Try to respect the opinions and culture of the people you live amongst.

Anonymous said...

The religious based argument against abortion still never addresses the role of society and individual freedom. Who has the right to govern reproductive choice, does a woman own her womb or is it by force of law leased to state. I am neither for nor against abortion but rather concerned about who gets to make the decision. In fairness can men even be participants in the decision process?

I proposed in an earlier comment the notion of a women only referendum on the issue, as they are the principle stakeholders here.

When does the state have supremacy over your body and for what valid reasons? Thus far the real world shows us that irrespective of the legal frame work in a given country if there is a demand for a thousand abortions they get done by one means or another thus abortion laws have no affect on population growth. In the interest of population growth or stability economic factors, education and social conditions are the governing factors.

There is no fundamental difference in an outcome to a society when it leaves the reproductive choices in the hands of women.

In Poland today there is no lack of access to abortion if you have the financial means. What’s the point of laws no one is prepared to respect.

Anonymous said...

Dear jannowak57:

The underlying problem with your reasoning is that you don't examine the fundamental issues: what constitues a human being and when does human life begin? Your appeal is essentially emotional - the state must sanction any decision a woman makes regarding her unborn baby ("entity" in your language). Anything less must be seen as "opression".
Those who propose that the unborn don't qualify as human, or become human only by degrees, owe an explanation. So I repeat my question: how does the passage thru the birth canal (or a c-section) confer humanity on an "entity"?

beakerkin said...


The logical extension of your argument is for the state to allow people who wish to walk around 24/7
in a gin induced stupor. This may work for expatriates in salons but not for those of us with humanity.

A society has the right to decide its own norms and values. In societies that elevate man to God ( Chavez, Mugabe or Kim Jong "Mentally Ill the cheapening of human life is a predictable consequence.

Anonymous said...

Without the seed of the man, there would be nothing to concern oneself about the womb or what's in it, except in the case of disease.

Obviously, another choice was first made by both man and woman, except in the case of rape or if birth control utilized failed to work.

So in the case of deciding about abortion, shouldn't there be some concern for the "squatter's rights" in occupying the womb?

But 57 is right in pointing out that women who want an abortion will manage to get one, no matter the law.

I'm more concerned with the individual morality of the choice than the law.

Anonymous said...

so what if some female wants an abortion? that doesn't mean that anyone else has to do it for her.
If there is any JUSTICE in the universe those pro-choice people will FRY in the deepest pits of hell for all eternity!

beatroot said...

If there is any JUSTICE in the universe those pro-choice people will FRY in the deepest pits of hell for all eternity!

Hell? You don't believe in that as well, do you? And a Hell with various levels of damnation as weel. Not much point debating with you, then...

Anonymous said...

Dear Beatroot:

Is it a mark of sophistication in some parts of Western Europe (I assume you come from there) to not believe in God and the angels (of both kinds)? Perhaps you can explain to us, the less sophisticated folk, what your metaphysical view of human life is. I hope you can do better than the stale old materialism and hedonism some people in the West are still enthralled with.
Try to learn how to dialog with believers in God, or you'll not be taken very seriously. Your response to Y Soc was rather, shall we say, poor.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

oops posted to wrong place!

Anonymous said...


Y Soc says, you've missed the main point of his argument.

As for Hell, Y Soc says he has a duty to point out to unbelievers; the consequences of their unbelief. So if you find yourself frying in Hell don't say you weren't warned.

Anonymous said...

After reading all the posts, what puzzles me is that the anti abortion advocates, seem to think that if some one respects women's right to choose, that they automatically are supporters of abortion. I think that a choice to go through an abortion is probably one of the toughest decisions that any women can ever face, and government has absolutely no place to make that decision for her. It is o.k. to have your religious beliefs, and act upon them, to teach tem from the pulpit to others who share them, but what gave you the right to make that moral decision for any one else. What most people fail to even consider is that estimated 20% of early pregnancies end up in miscarriage, many times without the women even realizing that she is pregnant, for whatever reason the body just rejects the pregnancy. Some times it can even be caused by too much stress, or being overworked. In essence the women's body chooses to continue with the pregnancy or not. By all means, try to reduce the number of abortions, by teaching birth control methods, and abstinence, but don't deny women the choice to make an informed decision, when she is not prepared to have a child, after all she is the one that will have the responsibility for the rest of her live not you.

Rembert said...

These laws only effect the poorest and least educated women in Poland Same in Ireland – the difference is that there are much less poor in Ireland than in Poland. Aside from the principle at stake, that is what I find so nauseating about the historical ‘compromise.’ But the point is – how to get those rights? And I don’t think through international courts is the way to go. It is important that somebody, like Jan says, ‘has the guts’ in Poland and does it through Polish institutions...but I think it will have to come from outside parliament in that case...most of them in there have less guts than a bowl of flaki in a doll’s house kitchen.