About one hundred thousand protesters took to the streets of the Polish capital, Warsaw, on Friday, in the largest demonstration of popular anger directed against Poland’s ruling rightwing Law and Justice party (PiS) since it assumed office in 2015.
Protests have been held across the country since Poland’s constitutional tribunal declared earlier this month that abortions in instances where a foetus is diagnosed with a serious and irreversible birth defect were unconstitutional. Such procedures constitute about 96% of legal abortions in Poland, which already has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe.
Just hours before Friday’s protest, Andrzej Duda, Poland’s right-wing president, announced what he described as a “legislative solution” to the political crisis, proposing that terminations in instances where birth defects are terminal would be allowed. Terminations of foetuses with conditions such as Down’s syndrome would be banned, however.