SPOTLIGHT: ABORTION BACK ON WORLD AGENDA
The recurring battle over abortion was bound to resurface in the U.S. presidential campaign, becoming what the Los Angeles Times called "one of the most personal, intense" moments of last night's debate between the respective running mates of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
Both Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence and his Democratic rival Tim Kaine are opposed to the practice, but Kaine argues that his personal (and religious) views shouldn't guide his policy choices. Pence said such a stance was "anathema" to him.
Pence was also forced to respond to a statement made last spring by Trump supporting criminal prosecution against women seeking abortion. Not even ardent American social conservatives like Pence still defend such a harsh approach on the delicate issue.
That is, apparently, not the case in Poland. A proposed law by the ruling government would ban all abortions, and carry five-year jail sentences for women who have them. The issue prompted a momentous series of demonstrations on Monday across what is still a very Catholic country. Warsaw-based daily Gazeta Wyborcza described the protests as "unprecedented" in the way that Polish women exerted their democratic force: "Something unprecedented has happened. Polish women showed what they're capable of. They proved they have veto power, a power greater than what the heads of many trade unions hold. After all, which union would be able to organize so many protests in so many cities all over the country in just one working day? Only Polish women can do something like that."
The past half-century has shown that the issue of abortion has the power to inflame legitimate passions on both sides of the debate. In religious or moral terms, it is hard to argue with either side. In electoral terms, it is bound to be a winning issue for abortion rights supporters anywhere that women exercise their right to vote. And to protest. And some day, to even run for president.
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