Warsaw clashes with church over abortion Protocol
The Catholic Church in Poland will seek for a special protocol on abortion enclosed to the accession treaty. A similar protocol was obtained by Malta. (Photo: EUobserver.com)
EUOBSERVER / WARSAW - Polish bishops are to ask the leftist government to follow Malta by adding an ad hoc protocol to the accession treaty to ensure that Polish laws outlawing abortion would be retained. 

Last week a senior official of the ruling SLD party caused confusion when he stated that the left-wing majority will legalise abortion after next-year's EU referendum. During the accession talks Malta asked for a clause similar to that of Ireland in order to safeguard its ban on abortion. 

This will go a long way in defusing the scaremongering being spread by the "No" camp, which has made abortion together with neutrality a central platform of its campaign" – the Maltese Department of Information then said. 

Although the EU has no binding laws on abortion, the European Parliament adopted a resolution this year, urging member states as well as candidate countries to legalise abortion. 

In September 1991, the European Court of Justice decided that abortion could constitute a service within the meaning of Article 60 of the Treaty of Rome. Due to this verdict, Protocol No. 17 to the Treaty on EU was enclosed to avoid the possibility of Community law overriding the provision of Irish Constitution which prohibits abortion.

Last week Marek Dyduch, the secretary general for the ruling Left Democratic Alliance (SLD) said that after an EU referendum the party will start work on liberalisation of abortion law. The government, hoping for the Catholic Church’s support during the EU campaign, will no doubt tread on the abortion issue for fear of losing favour. 

However, church hierarchs reacted angrily to the statement, which may cost the "Yes" camp many votes in June next year. According to Archbishop Henryk Muszynski, the Polish delegate for the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community (COMECE), the Catholic Church must demand a special clause in the accession treaty to guarantee the Polish legislation relating to abortion. 

Before the end of negotiations on 13 December in Copenhagen the Polish government had not shown any interest in such protocol, and indicated that it would not apply for it now either.

Written by Marcin Frydrych 
Edited by Sharon Spiteri