A proposal for an almost complete ban on abortion has been rejected by Polish politicians.
The plans sought to ban abortion except when the mother’s life is at risk, following a petition signed by almost half a million people.
However, MPs voted by 352 to 58 to reject the proposal on Thursday.
The move leaves the current law in place, which allows for abortion to take place for pregnancies that pose a health risk to the mother or are a result of rape or incest, or if the child has a severely life-limiting condition.
After twelve weeks, abortion is only permitted if continuing with the pregnancy would put the life or health of the woman at risk.
The ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party had endorsed the proposal originally but then changed tack. After the result, party leader Jarosław Kaczyński said PiS “continues to back the protection of life”, and would still take action, but in a ‘considered’ way.
Prime Minister Beata Szydło said the Government would seek to introduce new proposals in the coming months.
Pro-life supporters had gathered around 450,000 signatures in support of the ‘Stop Abortion’ Bill.
The Bill required 100,000 signatures to be considered by Parliament.
In a recent Polish public opinion poll, 66 per cent of respondents answered “yes” to the question: “Do you think human life should be protected always and in all circumstances from the moment of conception till natural death?”