The Polish Parliament recently approved a bill which will provide financial assistance to women whose babies are prenatally diagnosed with severe disabilities and who decide to continue with their pregnancies and give their babies a chance at life. The new policy will offer the equivalent of 900 euro a month to families to help contribute to the cost of caring for a child who may have special needs. Polish politicians are hoping that this will encourage families who are given tragic prenatal diagnoses choose life and provide for their children.
Poland currently prohibits abortion except in cases where the baby is found to have a severe disability. Children with Down Syndrome as well as babies with potentially life limiting conditions can be legally aborted.
The Associated Press reports : Government official Elzbieta Witek said the money is intended as the “first step” of government support for families with disabled children. Such families have long been demanding higher aid, which currently stands at 1,300 zlotys a month for a parent taking care of the child full-time. The Polish policy is both positive and life affirming. This is the sort of measure that should inspire lawmakers in Ireland. Rather than offering abortion to families whose children have disabilities, the government should offer support to families who are facing such difficult circumstances.
The lives of babies with disabilities, however severe, deserve the same respect and protection under law as all other babies. Poland’s new policy is a step in the right direction.
Last year, Polish people were horrified by reports that a baby who survived an abortion at the Holy Family Hospital in Warsaw, Poland was left crying and screaming for an hour before dying.
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