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PROTESTS against the Polish government’s near total ban on abortions have been described as “a turning point” in the country as hundreds of thousands took to the streets of Warsaw over the weekend.
Friday evening’s demonstration is thought to have been the biggest in decades with roads blocked across the capital as women defied calls from the government to stay at home as it threatened to mobilise the armed forces.
Protests continued over the weekend with anger over a ruling by Poland’s Constitutional Court more than a week ago which tightened the country’s already restrictive laws on abortion.
Termination of pregnancy is illegal in Poland except in cases of rape, incest, risk to the life of the mother or a severe foetal abnormality. The ruling by the court now means that even in cases of foetal defects, abortion is illegal.
In a bid to stave off the protests, President Andrzej Duda said that he would propose legislation that would reintroduce abortions due to abnormalities.
But Women’s Strike spokeswoman Marta Lempart said: “We’re prepared to fight to the end.” The demonstrations were branded a turning point in the fight for women’s rights in Poland.
The leader of the governing ultra-conservative Law and Justice Party (PiS) Jarosław Kaczynski, who is also Poland’s deputy prime minister, was accused of colluding with fascist forces as he issued a rallying cry for the defence of the country’s churches.
Scores of black-clad thugs targeted protesters with state-controlled media reporting that “leftist fascism is destroying Poland” while the demonstrations continue to grow.
PiS insists that online platforms Netflix and Tik-Tok were responsible for radicalising Polish youth into supporting what is describes as “left-liberal views.”
Polish police reported that 37 people were detained on Friday and explained that they had confiscated an array of weapons including batons and knives. At least 35 were associated with nationalist groups, the police confirmed.
But reactionary forces were dramatically outnumbered as at least 100,000 people thronged Warsaw’s central square, chanting anti-government slogans in defence of women’s right to choose.
Spokeswoman for campaign group Abortion Without Borders Justyna Wydrzynska said that support for the organisation had grown since the protests started with an increase in calls and donations.
“The number of our helpline has appeared on public television ... on sidewalks, walls, even on churches,” she said.
The group has offered support to Polish women that are seeking abortion.
Offering support to women in Poland, it said: “If you need an abortion in your home with pills, we are here for you. If you need an abortion abroad, we are here for you.
“We are here with information, with empathy, with kindness and with funding. We are here with no judgement.
“Unlike the constitutional tribunal, we will not abandon you,” it said in a statement.
Women seeking help with a termination in Poland can contact Abortion Without Borders on +48-22-29-22-597.
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