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The Polish government’s alternative to the Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence, which it has asked other CEE governments to support, would ban abortion and gay marriage, BIRN can reveal. Ahead of an expected vote this week in parliament on a draft law requesting the president withdraw Poland from the Istanbul Convention, BIRN can reveal the right-wing Polish government has already decided its replacement should be an alternative treaty that bans abortion and homosexual marriage, and has shared that vision with neighbouring states that it wants to join its efforts. In the letter – leaked to BIRN and published below in its entirety for the first time – which was sent last year to at least four governments in the region (Croatia, Czechia, Slovakia and Slovenia), the Polish Justice Ministry sets out its vision over five pages for an alternative to the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence, to give the Istanbul Convention its full name. The new treaty should offer “particular support” to “the protection of the life of a conceived child”, which should be understood as ending abortion; and “the concept of marriage remains reserved exclusively for the relationship of a woman and a man”. “In pursuit of the achievement of the objectives stated above and having regard to the constant threats to the family, the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Poland proposes that a convention be drafted together to be forwarded to the possibly wide group of addressees at the international forum,” the letter reads.

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