*

upload_article_image

Poland's PM defends abortion ruling, condemns protests

Poland’s prime minister on Tuesday defended the tightening of the country's abortion law and condemned massive nationwide protests led by women's rights activists, saying they shouldn't be happening amid heightened coronavirus restrictions and decrying “acts of aggression.”

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki was reacting to five days of massive protests across Poland against a ruling Thursday by the country's top court that declared abortions due to fetal congenital defects unconstitutional.

On Monday, protesters led by women’s rights activists blocked traffic for hours in most cities and also gathered outside churches, chanting obscenities against Poland’s influential Catholic Church leaders, who condemn abortions. They called for the women to have the right of choice.

Far-right activists with rosaries sing a religious song as they block entry to a church against hundreds of women's activists and their supporters protesting for the fifth day against a court ruling tightening Poland's strict abortion law, in Warsaw, Poland, on Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. The court said it was unconstitutional to terminate a pregnancy due to fetal congenital defects, effectively banning almost all abortions. (AP PhotoCzarek Sokolowski)

“In order to have the freedom of choice you first must be alive,” Morawiecki, whose conservative government backs tight restrictions, said in defending the court’s ruling.

Morawiecki added that “the situations that we are seeing in the streets and which amount to acts of aggression, vandalism, attacks, are absolutely inadmissible, should not be taking place at all.”

The prime minister urged everyone to observe restrictions that ban gatherings of more than five people in an effort to fight a sudden spike in coronavirus cases.

Angered women's rights activists and their supporters confront police and a far-right group on the fifth day of their nationwide protests against a recent court ruling that tightened Poland's restrictive abortion law, in Warsaw, Poland, on Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. The court said it was unconstitutional to terminate a pregnancy due to fetal congenital defects, effectively banning almost all abortions. (AP PhotoCzarek Sokolowski)

The Constitutional Tribunal’s ruling tightened what was already one of Europe’s most restrictive abortion laws. When it takes effect, abortion will be permitted only when a pregnancy threatens the woman’s health or is the result of crime like rape or incest.

More protests are planned during the week.

A protester with a sign of the women's rights campaign joins others on the fifth day of nationwide protests against the recent court ruling that tightened Poland's restrictive abortion law, in Warsaw, Poland, on Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. The court said it was unconstitutional to terminate a pregnancy due to fetal congenital defects, effectively banning almost all abortions. (AP PhotoCzarek Sokolowski)

Trams are halted by protesting women's rights activists and their supporters who block rush-hour traffic at a major roundabout on the fifth day of nationwide protests against recent court ruling that tightened further Poland's restrictive abortion law, in Warsaw, Poland, on Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. The court said it was unconstitutional to terminate a pregnancy due to fetal congenital defects, effectively banning almost all abortions. (AP PhotoCzarek Sokolowski)

Angered protesters block rush-hour traffic at a major roundabout on the fifth day of nationwide protests against a recent court ruling that tightened further Poland's restrictive abortion law, in Warsaw, Poland, on Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. The court said it was unconstitutional to terminate a pregnancy due to fetal congenital defects, effectively banning almost all abortions. (AP PhotoCzarek Sokolowski)

Far-right activists with rosaries sing a religious song as they block entry to a church against hundreds of women's activists and their supporters protesting for the fifth day against a court ruling tightening Poland's strict abortion law, in Warsaw, Poland, on Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. The court said it was unconstitutional to terminate a pregnancy due to fetal congenital defects, effectively banning almost all abortions. (AP PhotoCzarek Sokolowski)

A demonstrator with a sign of the women's rights campaign stands with others on the fifth day of nationwide protests against recent court ruling that tightened Poland's restrictive abortion law, in Warsaw, Poland, on Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. The court said it was unconstitutional to terminate a pregnancy due to fetal congenital defects, effectively banning almost all abortions. (AP PhotoCzarek Sokolowski)

Trams are halted by protesting women's rights activists and their supporters who block rush-hour traffic at a major roundabout on the fifth day of nationwide protests against recent court ruling that tightened further Poland's restrictive abortion law, in Warsaw, Poland, on Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. The court said it was unconstitutional to terminate a pregnancy due to fetal congenital defects, effectively banning almost all abortions. (AP PhotoCzarek Sokolowski)