Massive protest against abortion ruling planned in Poland

Poland is gearing up for the largest protest yet against a recent top court ruling that tightens abortion laws, with protesters from across the country expected to demonstrate in Warsaw on Friday evening.

Daily protests have swept many Polish cities since a ruling by the Constitutional Tribunal on Oct. 22 declaring that abortions due to irreversible congenital defects are illegal, as they violate the constitutional guarantee of protecting the life of every individual.

The ruling would effectively introduce a ban on abortions.

Congenital defects were the reason behind almost all of the around 1,100 legal abortions carried out in Poland in 2019.

The Friday demonstration is expected to start at 5 pm (1600 GMT) at three points in the Polish capital.

The protesters’ ire has been directed at the governing Law and Justice party (PiS) and its leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski. Many see the Constitutional Tribunal as a politicised body under his influence.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Thursday urged people not to protest because of a recent spike in new coronavirus cases.

The state prosecution meanwhile issued a circular to prosecutors, urging a strict approach towards those who create a health risk, as gatherings of more than five people are currently banned.

However, the Nationwide Women’s Strike, the main organiser of the recent protests, showed no intention of backing down.

“If one of us is attacked by the oppressive system of [Justice Minister Zbigniew] Ziobro, he will have to deal with us all,” Klementyna Suchanow from the Women’s Strike said on Thursday.


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