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Protests in several Catholic churches in Poland against abortion restrictions

Protests took place this Sunday in several Catholic churches in Poland, on the fourth day of a revolt against an almost total ban on voluntary termination of pregnancy (IVG) in this European Union country.

Protesters shouted “Enough already” and “Barbarians” inside a church in the city of Poznan (western Poland), according to a video released on social media, a scene that was repeated throughout the country, deeply Catholic.

The contestants were reacting to Thursday’s decision by the Polish Constitutional Court to ban the IVG in the event of malformation of the fetus, considering it to be “incompatible” with the Constitution.

The ruling, desired by the ruling nationalist and Catholic party, Law and Justice (PiS), restricts the right to abortion to cases of risk of death for women and pregnancies resulting from rape or incest.

Outside a well-known church in the center of Warsaw there was a skirmish between protesters, with placards that said “Disappear” and “I would like to abort from my government”, the police and supporters of the abortion ban.

Newspapers also posted graffiti photographs on church walls in several cities, reading “The hell of women”, the main slogan of the protesters.

Thousands of people, mostly women, returned to focus this Sunday in the cities of Gdansk, Krakow, Lodz and Rzeszow, as well as in dozens of other traditionally more conservative locations across Poland, in a challenge to the distance measures enacted to combat the spread of the new coronavirus.

The main argument of those who oppose the court’s ruling is that the ban endangers women’s lives by forcing them to carry out unviable pregnancies. Supporters say it will prevent abortion of fetuses with Down syndrome (trisomy 21).

According to data from the Ministry of Health, 1110 legal abortions were performed in Poland (with almost 38 million inhabitants), of which the majority (1,077, 96%) were due to malformation of the fetus.

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