In the second week of January, the Czechoslovak federal assembly passed a new human rights law which included a ‘right to life’ clause.
Members of the assembly, especially those representing Christian-oriented parties called for this clause to be extended to cover life from the moment of conception, in other words, they wanted an end to legal abortion, in line with the pastoral letter of the Catholic bishops at the end of 1990.
Representatives presented the moral arguments against abortion, and pointed out that Czechoslovakia was second in the world, after the USSR, in the percentage of abortions to the population.
Others, however, warned that after decades of legal abortion, a sudden ban would lead to backstreet operations, and suggested that an outright ban would be a curtailment of women’s rights.
The final compromise drawn up by representative Ivan Fisera, reads, “Everyone has a right to life [the original wording of the clause], with the addition that “Human life is worthy of protection before birth.” (Tablet, January 19, 1991)
An international group of rescuers attempted to save babies January 17 at an abortuary near The Hague. Among the 30 Dutch, Scottish, English, Belgian and American participants was Austin Vaughn, Auxiliary Bishop in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York.
Pro-abortion and pro-life groups staged rival demonstrations in Warsaw on January 25, as Poland’s parliament discussed a bill to restrict abortion. Senator Walerian Piotrowski presented to the Sejm (lower house) a bill to protect human life from the moment of conception, banning abortion except in cases of rape, incest or danger to the mother.
The bill would overturn a Communist law of 1956 that made abortion freely available.
Pope John Paul II told the Federation of Catholic Pharmacists November 3, 1990 that all aggression against human life must be opposed. The moral code must supercede the laws of the marketplace, he said.
• The pharmacist/client relationship goes beyond a mere commercial transaction.
• The Catholic pharmacist must actively oppose “forms of aggression against human life and human dignity” which are “becoming more numerous, notably through recourse to medication.”
• The full text can be found in Osservatore Romano, English edition, November 12, 1990.