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Polish women protest over anti-abortion initiative

PR dla Zagranicy
Paweł Kononczuk 04.10.2016 15:48
  • Polish women protest over anti-abortion initiative
Dressed in black, Polish women took to the streets on Monday to protest against a bid to totally ban abortion in this country.
Protestors in Katowice, southern Poland. PAP/Andrzej GrygielProtestors in Katowice, southern Poland. PAP/Andrzej Grygiel

From Gdańsk to Białystok, from Wrocław to Kraków, in pouring rain, thousands of women - and men - joined the so-called Black Protest, which had been trending on social media over the past weeks.

Activists called for women to take a day off work and join what they called "a warning strike".

Protests were also held internationally, in cities with large Polish minorities, including Berlin, London and Paris.

Poland already has one of the strictest laws on abortion in Europe, adopted in 1993 and allowing terminations only in the case of rape or incest, when the pregnancy endangers the mother, or the foetus is severely deformed.

But in mid-September a controversial citizens’ initiative to tighten abortion laws was sent by MPs to the committee stage.

The initiative calls for a total ban on abortion and would see women who terminate pregnancies facing jail sentences.

At the same time, parliament rejected a rival bid to liberalise abortion laws which called for women to be allowed to terminate pregnancy on demand, up to the 12th week of pregnancy.

Monday’s Black Protest was countered by a white one held by pro-life groups. These dressed in white and colourful outfits, supporting the bill being considered by the Polish parliament, and either staged their own gatherings or joined in prayer meetings.

Women's rights in Poland are to be discussed by the European Parliament at its session on Wednesday, following a motion by the Socialists and Democrats group.

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