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A new law in Poland has effectively banned abortions, with the government announcing it became enforceable from midnight on Wednesday.
The move was first passed in October and has caused mass protests since. The law states that abortion is only allowed in the most extreme cases, when the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest, or if it puts the mother's life in danger.
Demonstrations took place across Polish cities on Thursday morning with activists calling for more in the country's capital of Warsaw tomorrow (Friday).
The ruling was decided by the Constitutional Court and stated that a law passed in 1993 which allowed abortion in cases of severe foetal abnormalities wasn't constitutional.
In 2019, 98 percent of all abortions were carried out on those ground, which means that now the majority of terminations will be banned.
It has also angered citizens as the ban was passed without any debate from the public or the country's Parliament.
But the government in the country is conservative, and has strong ties to the country's Catholic Church, which supports the ruling.
Reuters reports that one protester, Gabriela Stepniak, said: "I want us to have our basic rights, the right to decide about our bodies, the right to decide what we want to do and if we want to bear children and in what circumstances to have children."
Protesters have been marching through the country's cities with signs that read 'strajk kobiet' which translates to 'women's strike'.
Even Warsaw's mayor opposed the new ruling, tweeting his support of the protests and saying that he believes it is not just a problem for women.
Rafał Trzaskowski said that not only are women being brought to the streets to oppose the new law, but said the 'whole nation' has had enough.
Cyniczni panowie uznali, że zamiast tłumaczyć się z chaosu wyprowadzą kobiety na ulice. Może uda się przykryć nieudolność rządzących? Nie panowie, nie uda się. Już nie tylko kobiety wyprowadzacie na ulice, to cały naród ma dość: https://t.co/0YRrX61cef #StrajkKobiet
- Rafał Trzaskowski (@trzaskowski_) January 27, 2021
When the law was passed in October, Dunja Mijatovic, the Council of Europe's commissioner for human rights took to Twitter to condemn the new laws, posting: "Removing the basis for almost all legal abortions in Poland amounts to a ban and violates Human Rights.
"Today's ruling of the Constitutional Court means underground/abroad abortions for those who can afford and even greater ordeal for all others. A sad day for Women's Rights."
It's estimated around 100,000 leave the country to have a termination abroad each year.
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