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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Marchers protest at ruling tightening Poland’s abortion laws

22.10.2020 23:44
Several hundred demonstrators on Thursday evening staged a march in central Warsaw protesting at a ruling by Poland’s top court that abortion of a malformed foetus violates the country’s constitution.
Marchers protest in Warsaw against abortion ruling on Thursday.
Marchers protest in Warsaw against abortion ruling on Thursday. Photo: PAP/Wojciech Olkuśnik

The protesters marched from the Constitutional Tribunal to the headquarters of the governing conservative ruling Law and Justice party, brandishing banners saying "You have blood on your togas" and chanting "Judges are creating hell for women."

The decision by the Constitutional Tribunal earlier in the day heralded a tightening of Poland’s abortion laws, already among the toughest in the European Union.

The ruling sparked anger among women’s rights activists and leftist groups, but was welcomed by anti-abortion campaigners and many conservatives.

In front of the Law and Justice HQ, police detained one of the demonstrators who threw a glass bottle at officers, state news agency PAP reported.

In total, Polish police detained 15 people after the protests.

After the new court ruling comes into effect, abortions will only be allowed in Poland if a pregnancy is the result of a crime such as incest or rape, or threatens the life or health of a woman.

Since the conservative Law and Justice party came to power in late 2015, there have been appeals for a blanket ban on all abortions in Poland, and calls to penalise doctors who perform such operations and women who terminate pregnancies.

But proposals for tighter laws previously triggered extensive street protests, and the government has shied away from toughening abortion rules.

(pk)

Source: PAP