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Poland Enforces Controversial Ban On Nearly All Abortions

Poland Enforces Controversial Ban On Nearly All Abortions

A controversial near-total ban on abortion in Poland has come into effect.

The government announced the new ruling allowing the prohibition of almost all abortions, with only a few exemptions to the rule, last year and is now effective as of midnight on Wednesday.

In October, the country's Constitutional court ruled for an almost outright ban, with a ruling that terminations would only be allowed if the mother's health was at risk, or in cases of rape or incest - conditions which account for 2 per cent of those who underwent legal terminations in recent years.

Crowds gathered in Warsaw to protest against the new ruling (Credit: PA)
Crowds gathered in Warsaw to protest against the new ruling (Credit: PA)
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Abortions for foetal abnormalities - which is most common reason for termination in Poland - now officially violate the country's Constitution.

The tribunal's Chief Justice, Julia Przylebska, said at the time that allowing such abortions was akin to "eugenic practices with regard to an unborn child, thus denying it the respect and protection of human dignity."

She added that aborting a pregnancy due to the health of the foetus was "a directly forbidden form of discrimination."

Poland is one of Europe's most Catholic countries, but recent polls indicated that the general public had no desire for stricter laws.

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However, the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) were pressurised by Bishops and Catholic groups to impose the restrictions.

Protestors on the streets of Warsaw (Credit: PA)
Protestors on the streets of Warsaw (Credit: PA)
Poland Bans Almost All Abortions In New Ruling
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Poland Bans Almost All Abortions In New Ruling

published at4 months ago

The October ruling was met with much backlash from rights groups, with The Council of Europe's commissioner for human rights, Dunja Mijatovic, saying it was "a sad day for women's rights".

"Removing the basis for almost all legal abortions in Poland amounts to a ban and violates human rights," she wrote.

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Following the government's latest announcement, groups met to protest in Warsaw, waving red flags and placards reading "Free Choice, Not Terror".

Protester Gabriela Stepniak, told Reuters news agency: "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."

The mayor of Warsaw has also voiced his opposition on Twitter, calling on women to reject the decision on the streets.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Life News, Life, abortion

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Aneira Davies

Aneira Davies is a freelance lifestyle journalist with a particular interest in interiors and craft. She has written for the Evening Standard, Prima, House Beautiful and Good Housekeeping.