Restrictive Abortion Laws in Poland Incites Mass Protests

Thousands flocked the streets of Gdansk, Lodz, Warsaw and Wroclaw in Poland on Wednesday in protest over a court ruling prohibiting abortion due to fetal abnormalities. In the ruling, abortion is only allowed in cases where a woman gets pregnant due to rape or incest, and if a mother’s health is on the line. For seven straight days, Poland witnessed huge demonstrations despite the uptick in Coronavirus cases. In an earlier protest, reports disclosed instances where demonstrators attacked churches, sprayed graffiti on its exterior walls and disrupted religious services, compelling the authorities to enforce stricter actions. Protesters blamed their Nationalist government and the Catholic Church for the new court ruling. Another mass rally is expected on Friday in Warsaw.

Reuters: More than 70% of Poles say they oppose the ruling, according to a survey published by the liberal Gazeta Wyborcza daily

Screenshot from Reuters

Reuters reports that Poland has been rocked by huge demonstrations, most of them peaceful, since its top court ruled last Thursday that abortion due to foetal abnormalities was not permissible under the constitution.

The decision means only abortions due to incest, rape or a risk to the mother’s health remain legal, setting predominantly Catholic Poland far apart from the European mainstream.

Police warned demonstrators not to target churches again after some services were disrupted and buildings defaced in an earlier protest.

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Aljazeera: Opponents of the ruling argue it puts women’s lives at risk by forcing them to carry unviable pregnancies

Screenshot from Aljazeera

According to Aljazeera, when published in the journal of laws, the decision by the constitutional court announced last Thursday will strike down abortions for birth defects.

Terminations will only be allowed for pregnancies resulting from rape, incest and or when a woman’s life is at risk.

The ruling cannot be appealed but only comes into force if it is published in the journal of laws.

It is unclear when this will happen and more protests are planned in the coming days.