Protests in Poland over the anti-abortion law project

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Poland, Warsaw – Few thousand people demonstrated over the past week against the abortion-ban bill. The coat hanger in their hands is the symbol of the crude tools used for clandestine abortions.

On April 3, Poland’s Catholic Church announced its will to collect the 100.000 petition signatures needed to introduce a bill regarding the complete ban of abortion in the country. The same day thousands of people expressed their disagreement on social media and by launching protests all over the country. 5.000 people demonstrated last Saturday in front of the Sejm, the national parliament. In other place, few dozens up to 150 people demonstrated in other cities.

The movement seemed to be a popular reaction, although it had been quickly politicized, especially by NGOs and some political parties, opposed to ruling PiS party, such as the far-left liberal Partia Razem (Together Party). It might explained that so few people took part in the demonstrations. According to a poll published in Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper, 69% of Poles view abortion as immoral and unacceptable. Meantime, 87% of Poles support abortion in case of danger for the mother’s health and only 14% of respondents were in favor of a complete ban. Yet 65% of 18-24 are favorable to a more restrictive law on abortion, including ban. 18-24 were the more supportive group for the PiS party in the last parliamentary elections last autumn.

According to theguardian.com, Poland’s political direction will be discussed by the European parliament on April 13. No international convention prevents Poland from banning abortion. It is a domestic issue – and, according to Irena Kotowska, professor of demography at the Warsaw School of Economics – a smokescreen in order to possibly pass other reforms and laws while abortion is “the hot issue”.

A bigger demonstration is planned on April 21, in Warsaw.

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