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Thousands March Against Proposed Changes To Poland's Abortion Law

Thousands congregated in central Warsaw yesterday for another protest against proposed changes to Poland's already highly restrictive abortion law.

The Dignity March, organised by the Dziewuchy Dziewuchom ("Women for Women") Facebook group, followed a previous pro-abortion rights rally that took place in Warsaw in April.

As we reported in April, Polish law currently allow abortions within 25 weeks from conception, but only when the woman's life is in danger, the pregnancy results from criminally-proven rape or incest, or the foetus is "seriously malformed".

Encouraged by the fact that the right-wing Law and Justice party is currently the largest in Poland's parliament, anti-abortion activists backed by the Catholic Church are now lobbying for even more restrictive abortion legislation. This faction wants to make abortions legal only when they are necessary the save the woman's life.

Men and women marching against the proposed changes yesterday chanted, "I exist, I think, I decide," and waved banners proclaiming, "Women's rights are human rights," the Association of Foreign Press reports. The BBC notes that yesterday's Dignity March was also focused on raising the issue of violence against women.

The anti-abortion activists are currently campaigning to amass the 100,000 signatures necessary to take their bill to Parliament. However, pro-choice campaigners are spearheading their own signature drive in pursuit of more liberal abortion laws.

Speaking to Refinery29 in April, Julia Eriksson, a 30-year-old Polish expat, said she was "convinced that the majority of the Polish population is against this [anti-abortion] legislation."

"The proposal comes from the Church and is supported by a government who might be about to commit political suicide," Eriksson said at the time. "There are currently demonstrations in front of the parliament and Polish embassies abroad, on the internet and in the churches. A resistance of such scale can't simply be ignored."