In a compliance review at the conclusion of its recent session, the U.N. Human Rights Commission cited Poland for having “restrictive” abortion laws.
The report, released Friday at the conclusion of a three-week winter session, said Poland’s state party “should liberalize its legislation and practice on abortion.”
A leading Polish pro-life group criticized the report as a “U.N. attack on the sovereignty of Poland.”
Lech Kowalewski, spokesman for the Polish Federation of Pro-life Movements, told LifeSiteNews.com he is concerned the report might influence the Polish government to adopt a pro-abortion bill under consideration.
The report, which evaluates compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, reiterated the panel’s “deep concern about restrictive abortion laws in Poland, which might incite women to seek unsafe, illegal abortions, with attendant risks to their life and health.”
The committee said it also was “concerned at the unavailability of abortion in practice even when the law permitted it, for example in cases of pregnancy resulting from rape, and by the lack of information on the use of the conscientious objection clause by medical practitioners who refused to carry out legal abortions.”
The committee composed of 18 U.N. human-rights specialists met with Polish officials Oct. 27 and 28.
LifeSiteNews.com notes that while the U.N. and the ICCPR do not officially promote abortion, both have been criticized for meddling in the issue.
The committee said Poland’s state party “should assure the availability of contraceptives and free access to family planning services and methods. The Ministry of Education should ensure that schools include accurate and objective sexual education in their curricula.”
Addressing the issue of “sexual orientation,” the human rights panel stated, “The Committee is concerned that the right of sexual minorities not to be discriminated against is not fully recognised, and that discriminatory acts and attitudes against persons on the ground of sexual orientation are not adequately investigated and punished.”
Poland’s state party, the committee said, “should provide appropriate training to law enforcement and judicial officials in order to sensitise them to the rights of sexual minorities. Discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation should be specifically prohibited in Polish law.”
Polish lawmakers who back abortion hailed the U.N. report.
“These regulations have to be changed but that needs serious discussion,” Cezary Mizejewski, secretary of state at the Social Affairs Ministry, told Reuters. “It is good that we have [the U.N.] report and it will reopen this discussion. We cannot keep to the old view that everything is fine and just close our eyes.”
Parliament member Anna Sobecka, however, insisted abortion should be completely outlawed, calling it “murder.”
“What is a baby, even one created by rape, guilty of that we commit him to death?”
The committee includes representatives from Tunisia, France, Egypt, Colombia and the United States.