: Protesters rally over plans to ban abortion in Poland
Society14:34 Apr. 11, 2016
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Protesters rally over plans to ban abortion in Poland

Thousands of people take to the streets demanding the law to be changed

Thousands of Poles are protesting against a total ban on pregnancy terminations. In Warsaw, they have gathered outside the Parliament.

A rally against abortion ban has been organized by a coalition of sixty feminist and human rights organizations in Warsaw. They insist it is a woman's right to decide what to do with her body and life.

 

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Thousands of protesters gather for a demonstration against proposed abortion ban law in front of the Polish Parliament building in Warsaw, Poland, 09 April 2016. (Photo by Omar Marques/Getty Images)

Anna and her 10 months old daughter were among the protesters. Many women were at the protest with children.

Anna Jakobic, protester: "Personally, I'm not planning to have an abortion. Instead, I would like to have the right to adopt such a decision. It's a hard decision to give birth to a child conceived after rape or a baby with disabilities. No government can decide this. Maybe they also want to prohibit oncological operations? Cancer is also live tissue."

Poland has some of the strictest abortion laws in Europe. The current legislation which dates back to 1993, bans all terminations except when the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest, poses a health risk to the mother, or if the fetus is severely deformed. Legal abortions in Poland are limited to 1,800 per year. There are no reliable statistics on the number of illegal abortions in Poland or women who undergo the procedure at clinics in nearby countries like Slovakia or Ukraine. Demonstrators claim the only aim of an abortion ban is to terrorize and torture women.

Patricia Banasik, protester: "This initiative would through us back to the Medieval Times. That's why I brought a clothes-hanger as a symbol of a tool, which was used for illegal abortions." 

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People sit next to a tree covered with hangers, symbolizing an illegal abortion, in front of the Polish parliament after a demonstration against a possible tightening of the country's abortion law, already one of the most restrictive in Europe, in Warsaw, Poland, Sunday, April 3, 2016 (AP photo)

The initiators of abortion ban say - Poles need to save the lives of children in all circumstances. They claim that liberal European policy leads to extinction in Europe.

Mariusz Dzierżawski, Pro-Life foundation"It is not a human right to kill the weak and children with genetic defects. The abortion is not a therapy for a pregnant woman, whose life is under threat. The easiest way is to conduct a caesarean section, and then both woman and the baby will be saved. People who encourage legal abortions are killers and liars. They are worse than the Nazis and Bolsheviks."

Last week, the Catholic Church appealed to MPs to pass the legislation that would bring about a total ban. Ruling Law and Justice party and Prime Minister Beata Szydło support this appeal. Opponents have launched their own plan to get 100,000 signatures supporting a law liberalizing abortion in Poland.

Margaryta Sytnik, Igor Antoniuk reporting from Poland for Ukraine Today.

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