Poland bans nearly all abortions after outlawing terminations for foetal defects sparking clashes with cops10/23/2020
POLAND has banned nearly all abortions after making it illegal to terminate a pregnancy over health defects.
The decision sparked clashes in the streets in Warsaw, with hundreds marching to protest the rules clashing with riot cops.
The new rules were introduced yesterday, and mean abortion is only allowed in Poland in the case of rape, incest or a threat to the mother's health.
Head of Poland's Constitutional Tribunal Julia Przylebska said: [A provision which] legalises eugenic practices in the field of the right to life of an unborn child and makes the right to life of an unborn child dependent on his or her health is inconsistent with the constitution."
As a result of the ruling, hundreds protested in the street as they marched towards deputy prime minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski's house in Warsaw.
Some protesters carried signs that read "torture" and held candles.
Cops in riot gear stood on the outskirts of the house to protect it, and were forced to use pepper spray and physical force after they were hit with stones.
Protesters also tried to push through the line cops had formed, according to Warsaw Police.
Protests also took place in Krakow, Lodz and Szczecin.
Protester Marianna Dobkowska said: "It's sick that such controversial things are being decided at a time when the entire society lives in fear [of the pandemic] and is afraid to go into the streets."
The Law and Justice party has increased conservative rules in Poland since coming into power in 2015.
The party aims to protect what it sees as Poland's traditional Catholic values.
Kaja Godek, a member of the "Stop Abortion" group in Poland said the country was "an example for Europe, it's an example for the world".
Lawyer Kamila Ferenc, who works with an organisation that helps women who have been denied abortions, said: "The worst-case scenario that could have come true has come true. It is a devastating sentence that will destroy the lives of many women and many families.
"It will especially force the poor to give birth to children against their will. Either they have no chance of surviving, or they have no chance of an independent existence, or they will die shortly after giving birth."
Council of Europe commissioner for human rights Dunja Mijatovic said the decision meant it was a "sad day for women's rights".
She said: "Removing the basis for almost all legal abortions in Poland amounts to a ban and violates human rights.
"Today's ruling of the Constitutional Court means underground/abroad abortions for those who can afford and even greater ordeal for all others."
Opponents of the ruling claim the Constitutional Tribunal has acted on behalf of the Law and Justice party.
The tribunal is independent but most of its judges have been nominated by the party.
Donald Tusk, former prime minister of Poland, said: "To throw in the subject of abortion and produce a ruling by a pseudo-tribunal in the middle of a raging pandemic is more than cynicism. It is political wickedness."
The Law and Justice party has denied trying to influence the tribunal.
United Poland politician Maria Kurowska, whose party is in the ruling coalition with Law and Justice, said: "We are glad with what the Constitutional Tribunal ruled because one cannot kill a child for being sick.
"This is not a foetus, it is a child."
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