Polish court seals divisive ruling to tighten abortion law

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WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland’s top court on Wednesday confirmed its highly divisive ruling that will further tighten the predominantly Catholic nation’s strict anti-abortion law and that triggered weeks of protests after it was first announced in October.

The Constitutional Tribunal published the justification of its decision, which means it can now be officially printed and take immediate effect. The printing was expected later Wednesday.

The main opposition Civic Platform party condemned the court’s move as “a provocation” by the ruling right-wing Law and Justice party.

“The government is trying to cover up its incompetence (in dealing with the pandemic) and is doing that in a cynical way,” Civic Platform leader Borys Budka tweeted.

Another opposition leader, Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz, tweeted urging the government to “save the economy, don’t set Poland ablaze.”

Women’s organizations that led nationwide protests last year against the Oct. 22 ruling warned of new action Wednesday night.

The massive demonstrations by mostly young people defied Poland’s pandemic ban on gatherings and were highly critical of the ruling party. Some led to clashes with the police.

The court ruling bans the abortion of fetuses with congenital defects, and critics argue that it narrows the already tight law to a near total ban of abortions. It was made in response to a motion from over 100 ruling party lawmakers, whose names have not been made public.

Termination of pregnancy will now be allowed only if the woman’s health is threatened or if the pregnancy is the result of a criminal act, such as rape or incest.

Until now, congenital defects were the reason behind most legal abortions in Poland.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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