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Women's groups plan more protests over Poland abortion law

Women’s rights activists are planning more protests in Poland after a top court tightened the predominantly Catholic nation’s already strict abortion law.

Angry street protests have been held since the court ruling Thursday, with protesters defying a “red zone” ban on gatherings intended to halt a spike in new coronavirus infections in Poland, and especially in Warsaw and Krakow.

The Constitutional Tribunal ruled it was unconstitutional to terminate a pregnancy due to fetal congenital defects. The ruling effectively banned almost all abortions and overturned a hard-won compromise of the 1993 law that still was one of Europe's strictest abortion regulations.

People protest against imposing further restrictions on abortion law in front of the Presidential palace in Warsaw, Poland, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. (AP PhotoCzarek Sokolowski)

After the ruling, abortion is allowed in Poland only when the pregnancy threatens the woman's health or is the result of rape or incest.

One leader of a women's rights group, Marta Lempart, said there will be street blockades on Monday, a strike on Wednesday and a protest march in Warsaw, the seat of the constitutional court and of the right-wing ruling Law and Justice party that is behind the ruling.

Health Ministry figures show that 1,110 legal abortions were carried out in Poland in 2019, mostly because of fetal defects.

People protest against imposing further restrictions on abortion law in front of the Presidential palace in Warsaw, Poland, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. (AP PhotoCzarek Sokolowski)

People protest against imposing further restrictions on abortion law in front of the Warsaw Curia in Warsaw, Poland, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. (AP PhotoCzarek Sokolowski)

People protest against imposing further restrictions on abortion law in front of the Presidential palace in Warsaw, Poland, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. (AP PhotoCzarek Sokolowski)