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Poland enforces controversial, almost total ban on abortion

A controversial near-total ban on abortion in Poland has taken effect, the government announced, with enforcement from midnight on Wednesday.

A court ruling allowing the prohibition prompted huge protests when it was issued in October.

Abortion is now allowed only in cases of rape or incest or when the pregnancy threatens the life of the mother.

The majority of Poles oppose a stricter ban and demonstrations took place in Polish cities on Wednesday evening.

Activists have called for large street protests on Thursday and Friday in the capital Warsaw.

The October ruling by the Constitutional Court found that a 1993 law allowing abortion in cases of severe and irreversible foetal abnormalities was unconstitutional.

In 2019, 98% of abortions were carried out on those grounds, meaning that the ruling effectively banned the vast majority of pregnancy terminations.

The ruling provoked outrage from supporters of the right to abortion.

But Poland’s conservative government, which has strong ties to the country’s powerful Catholic Church, supports the ruling.

The court justified its ruling on the grounds that “an unborn child is a human being” and therefore it deserves protection under Poland’s constitution which ensures the right to life

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