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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Protests as near-total ban on abortion set to take effect in Poland

27.01.2021 20:30
A constitutional court ruling restricting access to abortion is set to take effect in Poland, officials announced on Wednesday, triggering a renewed wave of discontent.
Audio
A protest in Warsaw on Wednesday evening.
A protest in Warsaw on Wednesday evening.Photo: PAP/Radek Pietruszka

In October, Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal ruled that termination of pregnancies due to foetal defects should be banned, eliminating the most common of the few legal grounds for abortion that remained in the predominantly Catholic country.

The court's decision set off nationwide protests at the time. 

On Wednesday, the government information centre said the court's detailed verdict would now be published in an official gazette, a step necessary for it to take effect.

More protests broke out in the evening as the near-total ban on abortion in the country was set to come into force.

A demonstration outside Poland's Constitutional Tribunal on Wednesday evening. A demonstration outside Poland's Constitutional Tribunal on Wednesday evening. Photo: PAP/Radek Pietruszka

Under the new rules, abortions will only be permitted in cases of rape and incest, and when the mother's life or health is endangered.

Officials from the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party said the government would now focus on assisting parents of disabled children, the Reuters news agency reported.

"The state can no longer take a life away only because someone is sick, disabled, in poor health," PiS lawmaker Bartłomiej Wróblewski was quoted as saying.

In defiance of a ban on mass gatherings amid the COVID-19 pandemic, tens of thousands of women, liberals and anti-government demonstrators have taken to the streets around the country since October 22.

(gs/pk)

Source: IAR, PAP, Reuters

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