The ruling coalition of Poland failed to muster a two-thirds majority in parliament to amend the constitution by adding an anti-abortion issue guaranteeing protection of human dignity "from the moment of conception."
It was a defeat for the government of Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, a Roman Catholic, who appealed to lawmakers to vote in favor.
Voting for the amendment were 269 deputies in the 460-seat Sejm, or lower house, or 27 short of the required majority. Meanwhile, 121 voted against and there were 53 abstentions.
The measure would not have triggered changes to Poland's already restrictive abortion law, which allows termination of a pregnancy until the 12th week only if the mother's life is in danger, the fetus is irreparably damaged or the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.
The current government led by Kaczynski's socially conservative Law and Justice party has stressed Roman Catholic values, but holds only a slim majority for its coalition with several smaller parties.