Poland Urges End to Abortion Protest Amid Coronavirus Threat

Poland Urges End to Abortion Protest Amid Coronavirus Threat

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki of Poland was urging activists to stop protesting against abortion in a bid to protect the elderly from the threat of the coronavirus.

In a report on Friday, Morawiecki was quoted as saying that mass gathering would fuel more infections and threaten the elderly who are at most risk of contracting the virus.

“I am appealing to those protesting. Please focus your anger on me,” Morawiecki told a news conference, in a field hospital being built in Warsaw’s national stadium.

“Issues of worldview are very important but let’s (discuss them) in a way that doesn’t also endanger our mothers and fathers,” he added.

The prime minister’s appeal came after tens of thousands of protesters, mostly young people, stormed Poland—a predominantly Catholic nation—following a high court ruling last week nearly totally banning any form of abortion.

Protesters have blamed Morawiecki’s nationalist Law and Justice as well as the Roman Catholic church as allegedly behind the court decision.

Coronavirus infections have since been rising in Poland, tripling in just a month and bringing the total tally now at 300,000. An average of 20,000 cases had been reported daily.

The majority of protesters have worn face masks since demonstrations began last Thursday. However, the mass gathering violated a government rule limiting the number of people to meet to only five.

Morawiecki was said to have avoided questions about whether his government would consider legislation that could soften the impact of the court’s ruling.

According to the court decision, abortions were not allowed under the constitution due to fetal abnormalities. The latter made up the lion share of terminations conducted legally in Poland.

Once the ruling goes into effect, women will only be able to legally terminate a pregnancy in the case of rape, incest, or a threat to their health.

Abortion on demand has been illegal in Poland since 1997 when such terminations were banned by another ruling of the Constitutional Court.

PHOTO FROM FLICKR

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