Massive Demonstrations In Poland As The Government Forwards New Law Restricting Abortion

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Massive Demonstrations In Poland As The Government Forwards New Law Restricting Abortion

Massive demonstrations have taken place across Poland in response to a new law that will severely restrict access to abortion. They are thought to be the largest demonstrations to have taken place in the country since the 1980s when Poland was under authoritarian rule.

The new laws mean that abortion in Poland, a traditionally strong Catholic country, will only be able to be carried out under two scenarios. One, where the pregnancy endangers the mother's life and two, if the woman was raped or a victim of incest.

Demos took place in 400 places, including the major cities of Gdańsk, Białystok, Poznan, Kraków, Wroclaw, Torun, Sczescin, Myślenice, Gorlice and Jasło. As many as half-a-million are thought to have taken part, with numbers in Warsaw reaching 150,000.

The demonstrations were very peaceful though 37 people were arrested, some linked to the far-right who had organised a small counter-demo. The ruling Polish political party, Law and Justice Party Leader (PiS), which is regarded as right-wing, have taken a number of strong conservative positions in the years they have been in power, and have been accused by some of undermining democracy in the country through their attacks on independent media. The abortion ruling though is so far the policy that has led to the strongest public response.

Polish President Andrzej Duda appeared on radio in response to the protests in which he aimed to soften his stance, by stating that abortion would still be allowed under certain circumstances. He said:

"It is an extremely delicate and painful situation for every mother, for every parent. In the case of lethal defects, the death of the child is inevitable. The protection of his life is therefore beyond human power. You must clearly ask yourself whether anyone has the right to demand, or the law may require such a woman to... bear such a child in her womb and then bear the entire physical cost of birth."

He however reaffirmed his position that abortion should not be allowed in scenarios such as when an unborn child has Downs Syndrome. He also condemned protestors who had disrupted church services, saying:

"If we are talking about acts of physical or verbal aggression, if we are talking about invading churches, if we are talking about insulting religious feelings, profaning places of worship, I am sorry, but the boundaries are definitely exceeded here."

It appears as though this may be the start of a much longer culture war in Poland over the future direction the country wishes to take on a whole range of issues.

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Thinking Humanity: Massive Demonstrations In Poland As The Government Forwards New Law Restricting Abortion
Massive Demonstrations In Poland As The Government Forwards New Law Restricting Abortion
Massive demonstrations have taken place across Poland in response to a new law that will severely restrict access to abortion. They are thought to be
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