Poles protest on anniversary of court ruling barring abortion
Krakow, Poland, Oct 22 (EFE).- Protests took place in a number of Polish cities Friday, the one-year anniversary of a court decision that effectively outlawed abortion.
The largest gathering got under way at 6:00 pm near the monumental Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw, Poland’s tallest building.
Marta Lempart, co-founder of the organization that called for the protests, the All-Poland Women’s Strike, described Oct. 22, 2020, when the Constitutional Tribunal eliminated fetal abnormality as grounds for lawful termination of a pregnancy, as the “day of contempt” for women.
Fetal defect was the cited reason for the vast majority of the roughly 1,000 legal abortions carried out annually in Poland prior to the ruling by judges loyal to the governing right-wing Law and Justice Party (PiS).
During Friday’s event, Women’s Strike activists collected signatures for a citizen’s initiative, “Legal Abortion Without Compromise,” that would allow termination on demand up to the 12th week of pregnancy.
If the threshold of 100,000 is reached, parliament would be obliged to debate and vote on the proposal. Rightists and militant Catholics used the same mechanism to compel lawmakers to weigh a complete ban on abortion.
Parliament rejected the prohibition amid massive public opposition, but PiS lawmakers persuaded the Constitutional Tribunal to find that the fetal-defect exception for abortion violated Poland’s national charter.
Representatives of Abortion Without Borders, an organization that assists women in countries where abortion is illegal or highly restricted, said at the protest in Warsaw that it helped 34,000 Polish women obtain abortions over the past year. EFE mag/dr