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“Black Protest” against abortion laws

Amid September sunshine, street vendors, and a public awareness campaign for heart disease, over 1,000 Cracovians gathered on the Main Square dressed in black. They were there to protest a law advanced by the ruling PiS party which would ban all abortions, Krakow Post reports.

One of ten such gatherings around the country (and more in major cities worldwide), the demonstration, #CzarnyProtest (Black Protest), was organized by Dziewuchy dziewuchom (Wenches to wenches) and drew support from a variety of anti-PiS political groups like The Committee for Defense of Democracy (Komitet Obrony Demokracji, KOD) and fledgling political party Razem (Together). The feminist organization has put together similar protests since the bill was brought to the table earlier this year by a citizens’ initiative backed by the Catholic Church.

The existing law, according to a poll this week by Newsweek Polska, is supported by 74% of Poles and only permits around 2,000 legal abortions per year – in the case of a life-threatening pregnancy, a pregnancy as the result of proven rape or incest, or a seriously malformed fetus.

This PiS-backed measure, however, does away with these exceptions and threatens jail time for women who break it. Furthermore, it would make it illegal to freeze embryos or to fertilize more than one egg at a time, measures aimed at curbing in vitro fertilization – a controversial practice in the largely Catholic country.

This past week, attempts to defeat it in the Polish legislature in Warsaw were quashed, and it has been sent to committee – the final stage before adoption.

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