Anti-abortion Poland offers payments for disabled newborns

Polish lawmakers approved a plan Friday to pay a bonus to families whose child is born disabled – part of a policy aimed at curbing the number of abortions. The “For Life” plan, which is expected to take effect next year, gives a one-time payment of 4,000 zlotys ($1,000) upon the birth of a disabled child or one with a life-threatening disease. 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 conservative Law and Justice government, backed by the Catholic church, is seeking to ban abortions of deformed or sick fetuses, or even those with no chance of survival, to make possible their baptism and burial. Polish law now bans abortions except in cases when the woman’s life or health is threatened, when the pregnancy results from rape or incest or when the fetus is irreparably damaged. But amid the threat of prison terms, doctors often refuse to perform even admissible abortions.

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