Polish PM defends new abortion law as women take to streets

Elias Hubbard
October 28, 2020

Poland has seen six consecutive days of demonstrations against a ruling by the constitutional court which, when published, will rule out abortions in all cases except rape and when the life of the mother is at risk.

A demonstrator holds a flare during a protest against the ruling by Poland's Constitutional Tribunal that imposes a near-total ban on abortion, in Wroclaw, Poland October 26, 2020.

Kaminiski was commenting after women on Sunday entered churches to disrupt Masses, confronted priests with obscenities and spray-painted church buildings. "This judgment is completely in line with the Polish constitution".

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of the ruling conservative Law and Justice Party (PiS) accused protesters of seeking "to destroy Poland".

Opposition Civic Coalition leader Borys Budka reacted by saying that words calling for "hatred, inciting civil war and using party forces to attack citizens are a crime".

Kaczynski, however, insisted it is the protesters risking lives by gathering in huge numbers amid a pandemic.

He warned that the opposition could seek to bring Kaczynski before a special court for politicians.

The protest is aimed "to support Polish women in their right to abortion", Femen, an global feminist group that was founded in Ukraine, said.

The Women's Strike, which has been leading the opposition to the bill, called the strike under the slogan: "We are not going to work".

Denys Priadko UNIAN
Denys Priadko UNIAN

"It is a moral obligation of every Christian to take steps to de-escalate a conflict, not to intensify it", Polak wrote in a letter to his diocese of Gniezno.

"Acts of aggression, barbarism and vandalism are absolutely unacceptable", Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told reporters on Tuesday, warning that any violent protests could lead to an "escalation".

Parliament's speaker called guards to protect Kaczynski, a deputy prime minister, from angry opposition lawmakers.

Women's Strike, the organization that has spearheaded the protests over the past week, called for Wednesday's workplace walkout under the slogan: "We are not going to work".

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

Responding to the protesters' demand that women be given the freedom to end a pregnancy, Morawiecki argued that "in order to have the freedom of choice you first must be alive".

The prime minister urged everyone to observe restrictions that ban gatherings of more than five people in an effort to fight a sudden spike in coronavirus cases.

There are already fewer than 2,000 legal abortions each year in Poland - which even before the ruling enforced some of the strictest termination restrictions in Europe - and the vast majority of those are carried out due to damaged foetuses.

Poland is a predominantly Catholic country but the influence of the Catholic Church is waning among younger generations and some of the protests have focused on churches across the country.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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