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Polish PM defends new abortion law as women take to streets



Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Tuesday defended last week’s tightening of abortion laws as protests against the move continued across the country.

“The situations that we are seeing in the streets and which amount to acts of aggression, vandalism … are absolutely inadmissible and should not be taking place at all,” Morawiecki, of the right-wing Law and Justice Party (PiS), said Tuesday morning, adding that people should not be gathering amid the country’s worsening coronavirus situation.

According to national media, the protests have been taking place since last Thursday across the country. On Tuesday afternoon, Poland’s National Women’s Strike, an NGO fighting for women’s rights, demanded via Facebook that women in Poland should be able to access their full rights to abortion, called for the government to step down and encouraged women for continued protests.

Responding to the protesters’ demand that women be given the freedom to end a pregnancy, Morawiecki argued that “in order to have the freedom of choice you first must be alive.”

According to the law passed last Thursday, Polish women may have abortions only in cases of rape or incest, or if the life of the mother is endangered, further tightening what were already some of the EU’s strictest abortion laws.

Jarosław Kaczyński, Poland’s deputy prime minister and the country’s de facto leader, has also defended the court’s decision. “This judgment is completely in line with the Polish constitution. There could have been no other judgment on this issue,” he said.

Zosia Wanat contributed reporting.



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