Poles join ‘um­brella protest’ against abor­tion curbs

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

— POLISH women have taken to the streets across the coun­try, launch­ing an­other round of protests against ef­forts by the na­tion’s con­ser­va­tive lead­ers to tighten al­ready re­stric­tive abor­tion law.

A large group gath­ered on Sun­day out­side the par­lia­ment build­ing in War­saw, chant­ing “We have had enough!”

The lat­est round of demon­stra­tions, held un­der the slo­gan “We are not putting our um­brel­las away,” was or­gan­ised in re­sponse to a new pro­posal that would fall short of a to­tal ban, but out­law abor­tions in cases where fe­tuses are un­vi­able or badly dam­aged.

Polish me­dia re­ported that sim­i­lar protests were hap­pen­ing in cities and towns across the coun­try.

The street protests were ex­pected to con­tinue later yes­ter­day, when some women were also plan­ning a strike, boy­cotting jobs and classes.

Sim­i­lar protests took place ear­lier this month against a pro­posal for a to­tal ban on abor­tion.

But law­mak­ers re­jected that pro­posal af­ter mas­sive crowds of women dressed in black staged streets protests un­der their um­brel­las in the rain.

Jaroslaw Kaczyn­ski, the head of the rul­ing Law and Jus­tice party, said re­cently he wants the law to en­sure that women carry their fe­tuses to term even in cases of Down Syn­drome, or when there is no chance of sur­vival. The move would al­low for bap­tisms and buri­als, Kaczyn­ski said.

His so­cially con­ser­va­tive party won par­lia­men­tary and pres­i­den­tial elec­tions last year with the sup­port of Poland’s pow­er­ful Ro­man Catholic church, Catholic me­dia out­lets and re­li­gious vot­ers.

Many ob­servers see the at­tempts to fur­ther re­strict abor­tion as a way for the party to re-pay its debt to its re­li­gious base.

How­ever, the pro­pos­als have proven too re­stric­tive for many Poles, in­clud­ing some who voted for the party.

Abor­tion was le­gal and eas­ily avail­able un­der com­mu­nism in Poland, but af­ter com­mu­nism’s fall the coun­try re-em­braced many of its Catholic tra­di­tions.

The cur­rent law, passed in 1993, bans most abor­tions, with ex­cep­tions only made in cases of rape, if the mother’s life or health is at risk, or if the fe­tus is ir­repara­bly dam­aged.

Of­fi­cial sta­tis­tics show there were 1,040 le­gal abor­tions in Poland last year, al­though many more abor­tions are known to take place, with women trav­el­ling to neigh­bour­ing coun­tries for the pro­ce­dure or or­der­ing abor­tion-in­duc­ing pills on­line. — Al Jazeera

The cur­rent law, passed in 1993, bans most abor­tions, ex­cept in cases of rape AFP

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