Attempts to make Poland’s stringent sexual and reproductive health laws still more restrictive sparked a heated debate in the Parliament on Wednesday. MEPs focused on a national bill to ban all abortions, but the European Parliament’s legal right to debate the topic was also hotly contested.
The debate began with a statement by Justice Commissioner Věra Jourová who declared, on behalf of the European Commission, that the European Union has no powers over abortion policy and cannot interfere in member states' policies in this area.
Some MEPs fully agreed, but most, while recognising that Parliament cannot legislate on the issue, nonetheless observed that it should be able to debate any issue that it considers relevant to its political and human rights concerns. They argued that the bill before the Polish parliament strikes a blow against women’s rights, which should never be taken for granted.
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