Belgium to Pay for Women in Poland to Have Abortions Abroad

A demonstrator holds up a cloth hanger as others light flares during a pro-choice demonstr

The government of Belgium has announced that it will contribute money for women in Poland to get abortions in other European Union member states, in response to the predominantly Roman Catholic country enacting a ban on most abortions earlier this year.

In January, the government of President Andrzej Duda enacted a citizen-led bill to ban abortions with exceptions for rape, incest, or in cases in which the mother’s life is in danger. Doctors who perform abortions in Poland for other reasons face up to three years in prison.

On Tuesday, marking the so-called “International Safe Abortion Day”, the Belgian Minister of Health and the Junior Minister for Gender Equality, Equal Opportunities and Diversity, Sarah Schlitz announced that the government would be donating €10,000 to a pro-abortion group in order to pay for women to seek abortions outside of Poland.

“Access to abortion is a fundamental right that must be ensured by every democratic state. It allows women to own their own bodies, protect their health, and not be forced to give up life opportunities. When a state fails to protect its citizens, civil society must step in,” the Junior Minister for Gender Equality said in a statement.

Sarah Schlitz continued: “As the Polish government tacitly accepts that Polish women go abroad to access the services they should be entitled to at home, access to abortion becomes even more of a financial issue.

“It is for this reason that with my colleague Frank Vandenbroucke, Minister of Health, we have taken the decision to send a strong signal by supporting Abortion Support Network, which helps Polish women financially and logistically who wish to have an abortion in another European country. The grant we are providing will cover the costs of having an abortion in another European country for women who cannot afford it.”

The founder of the Abortion Support Network and Abortion Without Borders member, Mara Clarke thanked the Belgian government for their “true act of solidarity”.

“We are thrilled to see our friends in Belgium extend their hands across borders to help people forced by punitive governments to travel for abortion care,” she said.

In the statement, Abortion Without Borders claimed that over 17,000 women have contacted them for help getting abortions in the six months after the law was enacted in Poland and that they continue to receive around 800 calls per month.

The abortion law in Poland came in the wake of a ruling from the country’s High Court last October, which ruled in an 11-2 decision that aborting babies who are disabled — the most common reason for abortions in Poland — was unconstitutional and discriminatory.

As Breitbart News’s Dr Thomas D. Williams  reported in October: “In its decision, the court argued that aborting a child because of probable birth defects constituted eugenics, an effort to cull out the weak and undesirable in a society, notoriously practised by the Nazis against Jews and disabled persons, and by Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger against blacks and minorities in the United States.”

The court ruled that there can be “no protection of the dignity of an individual without the protection of life.”

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter at @KurtZindulka


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