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Poland’s PM defends abortion ruling, condemns protests

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — 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.

“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.

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.

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