Poles March Against Abortion Law Changes

New government has moved toward ending the near-total ban
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 14, 2024 10:10 AM CDT
Abortion Law Plan Draws Protests in Poland
Anti-abortion demonstrators march Sunday in Warsaw.   (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

Thousands of Polish opponents of abortion marched in Warsaw on Sunday to protest recent steps by the new government to liberalize the predominantly Catholic nation's restrictive laws and allow termination of pregnancy until the 12th week. Many participants in the downtown march were pushing prams with children, while others were carrying white-and-red national flags or posters representing a fetus in the womb, the AP reports. Poland's Catholic Church has called for Sunday to be a day of prayer "in defense of conceived life" and has supported the march, organized by an anti-abortion movement.

"In the face of promotion of abortion in recent months, the march will be a rare occasion to show our support for the protection of human life from conception to natural death," a federation of anti-abortion movements said in a statement. They were referring to an ongoing public debate surrounding the steps that the four-month-old government of Prime Minster Donald Tusk is taking to relax the law brought in by its conservative predecessor. Last week, Poland's parliament, which is dominated by the liberal and pro-European Union ruling coalition, voted to approve further detailed work on four proposals to lift the near-ban on abortions.

The process, which could take weeks or even months, is expected to be eventually rejected by conservative President Andrzej Duda. Last month, Duda vetoed a draft law that would have made the morning-after pill available over the counter from the age of 15. A nation of some 38 million, Poland is seeking ways to boost the birth rate, which is currently at 1.2 per woman—among the lowest in the European Union, per the AP. Poland's society is aging and shrinking, facts that the previous right-wing government used among its arguments for its abortion law. Currently, abortions are only allowed in cases of rape or incest or if the woman's life or health is at risk.

(More Poland stories.)

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