Poland Implements Near-Total Ban on Abortion

Published January 28th, 2021 - 07:04 GMT
A demonstrator gestures as people take part in a pro-choice protest in the center of Warsaw, on January 27, 2021, as part of a nationwide wave of protests since October 22, 2020 against Poland's near-total ban on abortion. A demonstrator holds a banner reading "Abortion on demand" as she takes part in a pro-choice protest in the center of Warsaw, on January 27, 2021, as part of a nationwide wave of protests since October 22, 2020 against Poland's near-total ban on abortion. A controversial Polish court ruli
A demonstrator gestures as people take part in a pro-choice protest in the center of Warsaw, on January 27, 2021, as part of a nationwide wave of protests since October 22, 2020 against Poland's near-total ban on abortion. A demonstrator holds a banner reading "Abortion on demand" as she takes part in a pro-choice protest in the center of Warsaw, on January 27, 2021, as part of a nationwide wave of protests since October 22, 2020 against Poland's near-total ban on abortion. A controversial Polish court ruling that imposes a near-total ban on abortion will come into force on January 27, 2021, the country's right-wing government said, in an announcement that triggered protests. Wojtek RADWANSKI / AFP
Highlights
Conservative values have taken a more prominent role in public life since the nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party took power in 2015. 

Poland will today implement a near-total ban on abortion following a ruling on the matter three months ago. 

'The ruling will be published today in the Journal of Laws,' the government information centre said on Twitter

Under the new legislation, abortions are only permitted in cases of rape and incest, and when the mother's life or health is endangered.  

The announcement is expected to spark major protests. 

In October, the Constitutional Court said terminating pregnancies due to foetal defects should be illegal, ruling against the main exception for legal abortions in the largely Roman Catholic country. 

Conservative values have taken a more prominent role in public life since the nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party took power in 2015. 

Access to abortion has declined even without the legislative curbs as some doctors refuse to perform the procedure on religious grounds. 

Opponents of PiS have accused the party of influencing the court in its ruling, a charge the conservatives deny. 

Poland, a predominantly Catholic country, already has one of Europe's most restrictive laws on abortion.

There are fewer than 2,000 legal abortions every year and women's groups estimate that an additional 200,000 women abort either illegally or abroad.

'No law-abiding government should respect this ruling,' Borys Budka, leader of Poland's largest opposition party, the centrist Civic Platform, told reporters.

The October 22 ruling by the Polish constitutional court to ban abortions of foetuses with congenital defects, even when the foetus has no chance of survival at birth, sparked major protests late last year.

Thousands marched in Warsaw and other Polish cities to protest the country's right-wing government after a high court ruled to tighten the country's already restrictive abortion law. 

Mass crowds - most of them women - also rallied in the cities of Gdansk, Krakow, Lodz, and Rzeszow, and in dozens of traditionally more conservative towns. 

This article has been adapted from its original source.     


© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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