Polish prime minister urges end to 'barbarism' amid abortion protests

Elias Hubbard
October 28, 2020

The new law considers that abortion is legal only if the life and health of the mother is at risk, pregnancy was the result of rape or incest, or if a chromosomal disease such as Down syndrome is detected.

In today's edition of the Capitals, find out more about the failed attempt of Spanish far-right party Vox to oust Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez's government, 'Poland's highest court making it even harder to get an abortion in the country legally, and so much more.

Protesters say that the conservative ruling Law and Justice Party, which came to power in 2015 and presents itself as a defender of traditional, Catholic values has been influenced by the powerful Catholic Church in pursuing a very pro-life agenda.

It comes after five consecutive days of protests across Poland on the matter, where thousands of people have been marching to overturn the ruling.

The ruling comes despite opinion polls showing that Poles favour the status quo, and the strong opposition from human rights groups, women's groups and political parties.

Poland, a predominantly Catholic country, already had some of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe and many women travel overseas to terminate their pregnancies.

It is estimated that some 200,000 Polish women travel overseas for terminations, including to neighbouring Ukraine and Germany, or have illegal abortions.

"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". Speaker Ryszard Telecki, a close ally of Kaczynski, caused more anger by likening the red lightning symbol of the protests to the runes of Nazi Germany's brutal SS.

The session was suspended amid angry scenes.

More protests are planned during the week.

Primate of Poland Archbishop Wojciech Polak in a Tuesday letter to the faithful wrote that Christians have the duty to de-escalate conflicts instead of fueling them, as he referred to ongoing protests against a recent near-total abortion ban.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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