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Abortion Ruling Protests Disrupt Mass in Poland

Court's decision prohibits abortion in the case of congenital defects
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 25, 2020 11:35 AM CDT

(Newser) – Women's rights activists in Poland staged protests during Sunday church services in the predominantly Roman Catholic nation against further restrictions in the nation's abortion law. In the fourth straight day of protests, activists held up banners during Mass in some churches, according to Polish media and social media posts. A young woman in one Warsaw church stood near the altar with a sign that said, "Let's pray for the right to abortion," the AP reports. An LGBT rights group, Grupa Stonewall, posted a video showing people protesting in a church in the western Polish city of Poznan, chanting "We've had enough!" Churchgoers replied by chanting "Barbarians!" The demonstrations follow a ruling on Thursday by Poland's constitutional court that declared that aborting fetuses with congenital defects is unconstitutional. Poland already had one of Europe's most restrictive abortion laws, and the ruling will result in a near-complete ban on abortion.

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Some Poles argued on Twitter that people should not bring politics into church. Others said Poland's powerful Catholic Church had involved itself in politics by pushing for a total abortion ban and supporting the country's right-wing government and some far-right organizations. Women's Strike, the organizer of the protests, argues that forcing women to give birth to fetuses with severe defects will result in unnecessary physical and mental suffering. The organization vowed more protests this week, including blockades of cities on Monday, a nationwide strike by women on Wednesday, and street protests on Friday. Health Ministry figures show that 1,110 legal abortions were carried out in Poland in 2019, mostly because of fetal defects. The only other legal cases remaining for abortion are rape or incest or if the pregnancy threatens the woman's life or health.

(Read more Poland stories.)

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