Thousands protest against proposed stricter abortion law in Poland

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By Robert Tait, The Guardian
Sunday 18 September 2016 16.44 BST

Women’s groups and human rights campaigners in Poland have staged protests against a proposed new law that would criminalise nearly all abortions.

Thousands gathered outside the national parliament in Warsaw while there were demonstrations in several other Polish cities – and a separate event outside the Polish embassy in London – to oppose a measure that would outlaw terminating pregnancies except where necessary to save a woman’s life.

Poland, Europe’s most devoutly Catholic country, already has some of the continent’s most stringently anti-abortion statutes.

Legislators are expected to start debating on Wednesday even tougher rules drawn up by a rightwing thinktank with the backing of the Catholic church and the Law and Justice (PiS) governing party. A petition supporting the crackdown has gained more than 100,000 signatures.
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If passed, the legislation would introduce jail sentences of up to five years for causing “the death of a conceived child”. It would apply both to women seeking abortions and doctors and health professional carrying them out.

Gathering under the slogan “Save women, not a step further”, opponents argued that the change would risk the lives of women and force girls as young as 11 who had been raped or subjected to incest either to give birth or face going to jail.

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Source: The Guardian