Poland's lawmakers rejected a proposal to liberalize the country's strict abortion law Wednesday and voted to continue work on further toughening the rules.
The opposing approaches were embodied in two separate draft laws proposed by different civic groups.
The current law outlaws abortions in all but the most exceptional cases and only up to the 12th week of pregnancy. Abortion is allowed only when a woman's health or life is in danger, a pregnancy results from crime, or a fetus is irreparably damaged.
Following a heated debate, lawmakers voted to send a proposal to ban abortions of sick fetuses for more work by special parliamentary commissions. The proposal is backed by the conservative governing party and President Andrzej Duda.
The lawmakers also voted to reject the proposal that would have removed all restrictions on abortion within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
The ruling party has a slight majority in parliament, allowing it to block legislation it does not like.
In 2016, a nationwide protest organized by women led the government to back away from plans to ban all abortions.