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via Facebook / Maria Raucher Osborn

Thousands protest in Warsaw over proposed abortion ban

Poland may now outlaw all pregnancy terminations – and its residents aren’t happy

Thousands of people took to the streets of Warsaw this weekend, in an attempt to protest a proposed ban on abortions.

The pro-choice rally, which took place outside the Polish capital’s parliament yesterday, was ignited over the country’s plans to criminalise all pregnancy terminations. According to reports in The Guardian, Catholic bishops made a call to “tighten” the current policy; which currently allows early abortion only if it threatens the life or health of the mother, if the baby is likely to be handicapped, or if the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest.

“Catholics’ position on this is clear, and unchangeable,” the bishops claimed in an open letter, released early last week. “One needs to protect every person’s life from conception to natural death. We ask the lawmakers and the government to initiate the legislation.”

Despite incredibly divisive (and unreasonable) nature of these demands, the leader of Poland’s ruling party, Jarosław Kaczyński, has spoken out in favour; adding that he was “convinced that a vast majority of the caucus, or perhaps all of it, will back the proposal”. 

Unsurprisingly, residents aren’t happy. In a show of solidarity, countless pro-choice campaigners took to Warsaw’s streets to protest the potential ruling on Sunday – with many holding illustrations of wire coat-hangers; a referral to the dangerous underground abortions that are apparently common throughout country. “Even Iran’s abortion laws are more liberal than this proposal,” protestor Marta Nowak told The Guardian. “That’s why we must protest.”

The news comes shortly after Donald Trump made claims that women should be “punished” for seeking out pregnancy terminations. The Republican frontrunner, like fellow candidate Ted Cruz, revealed that he was “pro-life” in an interview with MSNBC last week – adding that he would fully support a national “ban” on the procedure. Similarly, in Northern Ireland, news broke earlier today of a woman facing a three-month prison sentence for taking internet-bought pills to induce her own miscarriage

“A woman who needs an abortion is not a criminal,” Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty’s Northern Ireland Director, stressed after hearing the news. “The law should not treat her as such.”