Abortion |Emerging

Protests in Poland greet tougher abortion laws

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Hundreds gathered in front of the parliament building in Warsaw at the weekend to protest Poland’s proposed abortion restrictions, days after lawmakers debated laws to ban the termination of fetuses with congenital disorders.

Members of parliament last week voted down a bill that would liberalize abortion law. Instead they sent new, tougher proposals submitted by the “Stop Abortion” public initiative, to the next stage of parliamentary scrutiny.

The move would outlaw abortion in the case of a damaged fetus, removing the main legal recourse Polish women have to obtain a termination. Of around 1,100 legal abortions in Poland in 2016, 1,042 were done for this reason, reported Reuters.

Poland already has some of strictest abortion legislation in Europe. Termination is currently illegal except in cases of rape, if the mother’s life is at risk, or if the fetus is irreparably damaged.

It is estimated that tens of thousands of illegal terminations happen in the country annually, according to the Guardian. Many women also travel abroad for procedures or order pregnancy termination drugs online.

Politicians abandoned plans by the ruling Law and Justice party to completely outlaw abortion in Poland in 2016 after thousands of women protested.

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Lydia is a staff journalist at WikiTribune, where she writes about politics, women's rights, inequality, sexual politics and more. Previously she headed up the women’s rights and political content at Konbini for over two years. In 2016, she made ‘Building Big’, a documentary about bigorexia and male body image. Her work has also been published in Dazed & Confused, Refinery29, Vice, Lyra, Banshee and Buffalo Zine. She is based in London.

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