Hundreds protest plan to further restrict abortion in Poland

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Pro-choice activists chant slogans, during a protest outside the parliament building, in Warsaw, Poland.

Pro-choice activists chant slogans, during a protest outside the parliament building, in Warsaw, Poland. (Photo: AP)

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Hundreds of abortion-rights activists in Poland held a protest Monday against a proposed law that would ban abortions in cases involving irreparably damaged fetuses.

The activists who assembled outside Poland's parliament chanted "We want choice, not terror" as a special commission of legislators reviewed the proposal.

The commission decided that the draft — proposed by a civic group — needed more work before it goes to the lower house of parliament for debate.

Iza Nowak, 38, attended the protest with her 4-year-old son to demand the "right to live the way I want to live." Nowak said she had terminated a pregnancy with a deformed fetus.

Pro-choice activists chant slogans, during a protest outside the parliament building, in Warsaw, Poland. Photo/AP
Pro-choice activists chant slogans, during a protest outside the parliament building, in Warsaw, Poland. Photo/AP

"We are not here to campaign for abortions, but to demand the right to choice," she said.

A small group of anti-abortion campaigners and Catholic nuns prayed in support of the proposal nearby.

As part of a hard-won compromise in a predominantly Catholic nation, Poland allows abortions when a woman's life or health is threatened, when a pregnancy results from a crime, and when tests indicate a high probability of incurable disease or irreparable disability in a fetus. The draft would eliminate the third condition.

Opposition lawmaker Joanna Scheuring-Wielgus alleged the bill was timed to divert attention from a new law that is forcing Supreme Court judges in Poland to retire. The law has put Warsaw at odds with the European Union, which has triggered sanctioning procedures.

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