Poland: Fourteen detained after Thursday abortion protest

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dpa/GNA – Fourteen people have been detained following a Thursday night demonstration against tightening Poland’s abortion law in front of the country’s Constitutional Tribunal, police say.

According to Marta Lempart, the leader of the Nationwide Women’s Stirke, a women’s rights organisation that has been spearheading the protests, five people are still in police custody, including Klementyna Suchanow, one of the leaders of the Women’s Strike.

Late on Thursday, police surrounded the protesters in front of the constitutional court, allowing them to leave only upon presenting proof of identity. Eventually, the police forcibly removed from the site those who did not comply.

Public gatherings of more than five people in Poland are banned under coronavirus prevention laws. However, some say that this ban is illegal as necessary procedures mandated by the constitution were not observed during its implementation.

Protests against restricting the right to abortion, which first erupted late last year, resumed late on Wednesday, after the constitutional court’s October ruling on abortion took full effect.

In that ruling, the court decided that abortions carried out due to irreversible congenital defects – covering a wide range of conditions from Down’s syndrome to fatal illnesses – were illegal under the constitution.

Such congenital defects accounted for almost all of the 1,110 legal abortions performed in Poland, a country of 38 million, in 2019.

New demonstrations in the capital and other cities are planned for Friday.

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