Women in Poland protest draft law curbing abortion rights


Women, self isolated in their cars to protect against coronavirus, take part in a protest against plans for the parliament to debate a draft law tightening Poland’s ban on most abortions this week, in Warsaw, Poland, Tuesday, April 14, 2020. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.(AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

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WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Paying lip service to COVID-19 lockdown rules, scores of women driving cars or riding bicycles in Warsaw protested Tuesday against a new effort by the conservative government to tighten already restrictive anti-abortion laws.

They oppose draft laws due to be debated in the lower house of parliament this week that would ban abortion of sick or deformed fetuses and penalize sex education in schools.

Similar proposed legislation was shelved a few years ago following mass protests. Critics say the government is now trying to revive these draft laws at a time when restrictions on public gatherings would render potential demonstrations illegal.

The protesters had banners and flags calling for women’s right to choice and for sex education in schools. Their protest held up traffic around a major downtown roundabout.

Police with loudspeakers urged them to disperse, as Poland’s lockdown bans gatherings of more than five people, but no arrests or fines were reported.

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