Pro-abortion protestors take to the streets in “Black Friday” demonstrations

pro-abortion protesters. Photo:PAP

Thousands of protesters marched through central Warsaw and other major cities to oppose a private bill tightening abortion laws.

The proposed changes include abolishing the possibility of having an abortion if the fetus is severely and irreversibly damaged.

Currently, the Polish law allows abortions under three circumstances: when the fetus could be severely deformed; when giving birth would endanger the mother’s life or health; and when the pregnancy resulted from a criminal act.

Most abortions are performed on damaged fetuses, and a vast majority on fetuses with Down syndrome. Anti-abortionists claim this kind of abortion is “eugenic”.

On Monday Poland’s lower House of Parliament ‘positively assessed’ a citizens’ bill to tighten up the laws.

The protesters want the new law to be rejected, claiming it is against women’s rights and it would only drive abortions underground.

The new abortion law proposal was initiated by a small private Catholic foundation led by Kaja Godek, a mother of a child with Down syndrome. Her foundation managed to collect over 800,000 signatures in favor of the project.

The Polish Catholic Church supported the new law with some hesitation at the beginning, but now the Church together with anti-abortionists are trying to push ahead and have an influence on the law.

The issue is proving to be a headache for the governing Law and Justice party (PiS), partly because of the numerous protests, and partly because people mistakenly think they are behind the law.

The party is now trying to muffle the issue by postponing the vote in the parliament.