Young people in particular demonstrated in Warsaw against tightening abortion laws
Photo: Czarek Sokolowski / dpa
Thousands of demonstrators have again gathered in the center of Poland's capital Warsaw to protest against stricter laws on abortion.
They carry posters that read "My body, my choice" and "I want to give birth safely, not for an idea".
According to the organizers, around 100,000 people are said to have gathered in Warsaw alone.
According to a report by the Reuters news agency, right-wing groups are also said to have gathered in Warsaw for counter-protests.
You support the planned tightening.
According to Reuters, the police tried to separate the groups.
Mass protests in Warsaw: tightly packed, despite the increasing number of corona infections
Photo: LESZEK SZYMANSKI / EPA-EFE / Shutterstock
The organization "All-Poland Women's Strike" had previously called for a central protest march through the capital against tightening abortion law.
The march is said to be a highlight of the demonstrations that have been taking place in Poland for days.
Last week the Constitutional Court ruled that women are not allowed to have an abortion even if their child has severe malformations.
In fact, this amounts to a ban on abortion.
Poland's President Andrzej Duda recently tried to defuse tensions.
According to his proposal, abortions should also be allowed if stillbirth is probable or if "abnormalities" in the fetus make death immediately after birth probable.
This would rule out an abortion, for example, if the diagnosis indicates a disability such as Down syndrome, as this is not life-threatening.
"Forced to take to the streets despite the pandemic"
"We are forced to take to the streets and shout out our rights despite the pandemic," says Anita Wyniarz.
The mother of two has arrived from Tychy in Silesia.
"Every woman should decide for herself about a pregnancy, not a short man with a cat," she says, referring to Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the powerful head of the national conservative ruling party PiS.
In Poland there had recently been more than 20,000 new infections with the corona virus every day.
Because of the rapid spread of the pandemic, the government accused the protesters of endangering the lives of the elderly and of disregarding the large gathering ban due to the pandemic.
For the young protester Justyna Piotrkowska, one thing is certain: "For me, an abortion is nothing bad."
If someone doesn't want to have a child, she believes that this is a better solution than to send the child to the orphanage later.
The protests are a new escalation in the dispute over abortion law, which has been contested in Poland for decades.
In the communist era the barriers to abortion were low - as in most Eastern Bloc countries.
Abortions are already difficult
After the fall of the Wall, the Catholic Church and conservative elites pushed for a total ban on abortion.
But there was no social consensus for this.
In 1993, a compromise was agreed that remained valid until the Constitutional Court's decision.
Up until now, abortion has been legal in Poland if the pregnancy endangers the life or health of the mother, is the result of rape or if the unborn child has severe malformations.
However, even if there is a medical indication, many women in Poland are already having great difficulties getting an abortion at the local hospital.
This is because Polish law enables doctors and nursing staff to refuse these interventions by means of a conscientious decision.
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