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Poland Tightens Abortion Laws, Effectively Banning Terminations

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Poland Tightens Abortion Laws, Effectively Banning Terminations

Poland has banned almost all abortions after introducing a new law that prevents terminations in cases of foetal defects.

The country already had some of the strictest abortion laws in Europe and this new rule, which brands terminations of foetuses with defects as 'unconstitutional', means an almost complete ban.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

When the new rule comes into play, abortions will only be allowed in cases of rape, incest or if the mother's health is at risk.

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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.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA
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Kamila Ferenc, a lawyer who works with an organisation helping women denied abortion told the Daily Mail: "The worst-case scenario that could have come true has come true. It is a devastating sentence that will destroy the lives of many women and many families.

"It will especially force the poor to give birth to children against their will. Either they have no chance of surviving, or they have no chance of an independent existence, or they will die shortly after giving birth."

However, the move was welcomed by a group called 'Stop Abortion', with member Kaja Godek saying: "Today Poland is an example for Europe, it's an example for the world."

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Following the announcement of the new restrictions, protestors took to the streets where they clashed with police.

In Warsaw hundreds of people marched to the home of Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynsk, some carried candles, others waved placards and flags.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

One protestor told the Daily Mail: "It's sick that such controversial things are being decided at a time when the entire society lives in fear [of the coronavirus pandemic] and is afraid to go into the streets."

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Under current coronavirus restrictions, public gatherings of more than 10 people are outlawed.

Police said they used pepper spray and physical force on the protestors after some 'threw stones and tried to push through the cordon around the house', the BBC reports.

A spokesperson from the force told the BBC 15 people were arrested.

Similar protests took place in Lodz, Gdansk, Krakow and Szczecin.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: World News, Poland

Claire Reid
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