- Title: Hundreds demonstrate in Warsaw after Polish court abortion ruling
- Date: 22nd October 2020
- Summary: WARSAW, POLAND (OCTOBER 22, 2020) (REUTERS) (NIGHT SHOTS) ***WARNING: CONTAINS PROFANITY**** PROTESTERS DEMONSTRATING OUTSIDE CONSTITUTIONAL TRIBUNAL SIGN PAINTED ON PAVEMENT READING (Polish): "YOU HAVE BLOOD ON YOUR HANDS" / PROTESTERS CHANTING (Polish): "Fuck off" PROTESTERS PLAYING DRUMS PROTESTER HOLDING CANDLE PROTEST IN PROGRESS PROTESTERS MARCHING DOWN STREET HOLDING BIG WOMEN'S STRIKE BANNER WITH SIGN READING (Polish): "FUCK OFF" VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS MARCHING PEOPLE WAVING AT PROTESTERS THROUGH WINDOW PROTESTERS MARCHING, PLAYING DRUMS VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS MARCHING HOLDING BANNER AND CHANTING (Polish): "IF THE STATE DOES NOT PROTECT ME, I WILL PROTECT MY SISTER" PROTESTERS WALKING HOLDING BANNER CHANTING (Polish): "FUCK OFF" PROTESTERS HOLDING WOMEN'S STRIKE POSTER AND LGBT FLAGS (SOUNDBITE) (Polish) PROTESTER, ALEKSANDRA (LAST NAME NOT GIVEN), SAYING: "It's not that the women are not ready to have a baby. The women are not ready to experience the death of their fetus or a young child that will die right after being born because of genetic defects and sicknesses. No one is ready for it and no one teaches that at schools so we should not tolerate that and women's rights should be human rights." (SOUNDBITE) (Polish) 24-YEAR-OLD PROTESTER, JOANNA MARASZEK, SAYING: "I am simply done. It's not the time and place for us to be here. It's the epidemic state, we don't want to be here but we simply have to. What the government is doing to us today is not only taking away our women's rights but also our human rights. For the first time, we can confidently say that in Poland we have the worst abortion law in Europe." (SOUNDBITE) (Polish) 19-YEAR-OLD PROTESTER, WIKORIA KOZIEL, SAYING: "We've already been at the Tribunal (Constitutional Tribunal) and now it's time for PiS (Law and Justice) headquarters because it's mainly them who has a problem with abortion. So it's good that we are here and we show them that we don't like it." (SOUNDBITE) (Polish) 26-YEAR-OLD STUDENT, KASIA HAJDAS, SAYING: "I am here because I think these are my fundamental rights to decide if I want to give birth to a child or not. PiS is taking away our civil rights and just like my friend said, the worst part of it is that in case of unwanted pregnancy, we can deal with it somehow because we have means, we have support, we have family here in Warsaw. But it's about girls in smaller villages who can even lose their lives because of what PiS is doing now and I cannot let that happen anymore." (SOUNDBITE) (Polish) 24-YEAR-OLD PROTESTER, BERENIKA PEL, SAYING: "For PiS and for the court, which is in fact taken over by PiS, the pandemic is an ideal moment to push this kind of things, to restrict our civil rights and restrict our basic rights." PROTESTERS OUTSIDE RULING PARTY (PIS) HEADQUARTERS PROTESTERS SCUFFLING WITH POLICE POLICE OFFICERS STANDING AMONG PROTESTERS, POSTER ON WALL READING (Polish): "YOU DON'T WANT ABORTION? SO DON'T DO IT" POLICE CARS OUTSIDE PIS HEADQUARTERS PROTESTER TALKING TO POLICE OFFICER POLICE STANDING GUARD OUTSIDE PIS HEADQUARTERS SIGN ON BUILDING READING (Polish): "LAW AND JUSTICE"
- Embargoed: 5th November 2020 22:43
- Keywords: Constitutional Tribunal Law and Justice Polish law abortion law protests in Warsaw
- Location: WARSAW, POLAND
- City: WARSAW, POLAND
- Country: Poland
- Topics: Europe,Lawmaking,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA001D17OE2H
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS PROFANE LANGUAGE/ OBSCENE GESTURES
Protests gathered across Poland after the Constitutional Tribunal ruled on Thursday (October 22) that abortion due to fetal defects was unconstitutional, banning the most common of the few legal grounds for ending a pregnancy in the largely Catholic country.
Hundreds gathered in front of the Tribunal in Warsaw chanting 'come with us', some carrying candles and most wearing face masks to comply with coronavirus pandemic restrictions. Demonstrators then walked to the Law and Justice headquarters and the house of ruling party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski.
Small protests also took place in the cities of Krakow, Lodz and Szczecin.
Conservative values have played a growing role in public life in Poland since the nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party came into power five years ago on a promise to defend what it sees as the nation's traditional, Catholic character.
Curbing access to abortion has been a long-standing ambition of the party, but it has stepped back from previous legislative proposals amid a widespread public backlash.
After the ruling goes into effect, abortion will only be permissible in Poland in the case of rape, incest or a threat to the mother's health and life, which make up only around 2% of legal terminations conducted in recent years.
It brings Poland further apart from the European mainstream, as the only EU country apart from tiny Malta to severely restrict access to abortion.
(Production: Aleksandra Szmigiel, Joanna Plucinska, Kuba Stezycki, Malgorzata Wojtunik)
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