Sunday sees fourth day of protests against top court's abortion verdict

2020-10-25 17:29 update: 2020-10-26, 21:43
Photo PAP/Jakub Kaczmarczyk
Photo PAP/Jakub Kaczmarczyk
Sunday marked the fourth straight day of protests across Poland against a Thursday ruling by the Constitutional Tribunal (TK) which put a near-total ban on abortion.

Polish activists staged protests during Sunday church services in Warsaw and other Polish cities on Sunday, holding banners with slogans such as "Women's hell is in Poland" to express their outrage at the abortion ruling by the country's top court.

Despite the recent ban on gatherings of more than five people, thousands of people continued their protests against the TK ruling in many Polish cities on Saturday, with demonstrations held in Warsaw, the northern city of Gdansk, the central city of Lodz, southern Katowice and southwestern Wroclaw. 

In Warsaw, several hundred people protested in front of the headquarters of the ruling conservative party Law and Justice (PiS) and then moved to the Constitutional Tribunal building, accusing PiS of politicising Poland's top court by manning it with judges loyal to the ruling party.

In the coastal city of Gdansk, several thousand people blocked the centre of the city, brandishing banners expressing their anger against the verdict and shouting obscenities against the ruling party.

In Lodz, nearly a thousand protesters, including feminist and left-wing activists, gathered in the city centre also venting anger against the verdict and the ruling party.

In Katowice, around 4,000 people marched through the streets of the city on Saturday evening in protest over the TK ruling. 

In Wroclaw, several thousands of demonstrators protested against the tightening of the country's abortion laws in Ostrow Tumski, the oldest part of the city, where the office of local bishops is located. 

On Thursday, Poland's Constitutional Tribunal ruled that laws currently permitting abortion due to foetal defects are unconstitutional. The ruling follows a 2019 motion to the court by 119 MPs from the ruling Law and Justice party and two opposition groupings.

Current abortion laws in Poland are very strict compared to other EU member countries. Abortion is admissible if pre-natal tests reveal a high probability of irreversible damage to the foetus or its affliction with an incurable and life-endangering ailment. Other admissible cases include an immediate threat to a woman's life and incest or rape. (PAP)