Warsaw and other Polish cities have seen mass protests since the country’s Constitutional Tribunal issued a ruling that will virtually end legal abortion. Tens of thousands of protesters—the majority of them women—have taken to the streets of cities and towns across the country, in defiance of pandemic restrictions harshly limiting the size of gatherings. Their anger has been directed against the ruling conservative Law & Justice Party (PiS) and the Catholic church, which are seen as being behind the decision. Protesters have disrupted services and sprayed graffiti on the walls of Warsaw churches. On Oct. 27, clashes broke out in a number of cities between the demonstrators and far-right groups ostensibly organized to defend churches. Two women were also injured that day when a car drove through a group of protesters who were blocking a road in Warsaw.
In its Oct. 22 ruling, the Constitutional Tribunal found that abortion in cases where the foetus has serious and irreversible birth defects—which make up around 98% of all legal terminations in Poland—is unconstitutional. The effect will be to dramatically tighten Poland’s abortion law—already the strictest in the European Union other than Malta’s—by leaving women entitled to legal terminations only if the pregnancy threatens their life or health, or results from rape or incest. (Notes from Poland, Notes from Poland, BBC News)
Photo: Notes from Poland