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Poland abortion ruling: Protesters block roads across country

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Thousands of people have blocked roads across Poland on the fifth consecutive day of protests against a court's near-total ban on abortion.

In the capital Warsaw, protesters blocked the main intersections, stopping cars and trams for about an hour.

Some carried placards with slogans like "I wish I could abort my government".

The protests are considered unusual in a country where the Roman Catholic Church has great influence.

  • Poland bans almost all abortions
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They follow a ruling by Poland's Constitutional Court that abortions, even in cases of foetal defects, are illegal.

It means abortion is now only valid in cases of rape or incest, or to protect the mother's life.

image copyrightEPA
image copyrightEPA

There were blockades in about 50 cities across the country on Monday.

The previous day, protesters disrupted church services and graffiti was sprayed on the walls of Warsaw churches.

image copyrightEPA
image copyrightEPA

Abortion is a deeply divisive issue in Poland. A 2014 opinion poll by the CBOS research centre found that 65% of Poles surveyed were against abortion, 27% saw it as acceptable and 8% were undecided.

image copyrightEPA
image copyrightEPA

However, for years opinion polls have found a clear majority against the latest tightening of the law.

There are just over 1,000 legal abortions every year in Poland, but women's groups say the number of abortions carried out illegally or abroad could be between 80,000 and 120,000.

Protests also took place outside the Polish embassies in London and in Kyiv.

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Related Topics

  • Poland
  • Abortion

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