WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Protests were held in Warsaw and other Polish cities on Friday night to mark the one-year anniversary of a constitutional court ruling that severely restricted abortion rights in the country.
In last October’s ruling, the court declared that abortion due to fetal abnormalities — even in the case of fetuses so badly damaged they would die at birth — is not constitutional.
In practice, it meant a near-total ban on abortion in the traditionally Catholic central European nation. The only legal abortions can now be performed in cases of rape or incest, or if the woman’s life is at risk.
Last year’s ruling sparked the largest street protests in the three decades since the end of communism.
Friday’s protest in Warsaw, by contrast, was small.
The protests were organized by Women’s Strike, an organization struggling to achieve reproductive freedom for women. They were planned in 20 cities.
Members of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party, which is aligned with the Roman Catholic Church, had sought the new restriction. They argued that one aim was to prevent the abortion of fetuses with Down syndrome, which had made up a significant share of the legal abortions in Poland until then.