Polish protesters block roads, storm churches over abortion ban

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Oct. 26 (UPI) — Protesters in Poland blocked roads and disrupted church services in response to a ruling that would institute a near-total ban on abortion in the country.

Demonstrations have carried on for four days after Poland’s constitutional tribunal issued a ruling that would ban abortions in instances where a fetus is diagnosed with a serious irreversible birth defect.

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Under the ban, abortions would only be permitted under circumstances including rape, incest and threat to the mother’s life.

The demonstrations have spread to more than 150 cities and towns throughout Poland including the capital city of Warsaw where protesters poured red paint across the Lazienkowski Bridge.

Others used their cars to create a series of blockages in city centers as thousands of people marched against the ruling and hundreds gathered outside the Presidential Palace Sunday night.

A woman was taken away in an ambulance after allegedly being thrown down the steps of the Church of the Holy Cross in central Warsaw on Sunday as protesters clashed with far-right groups.

In western Poland, protesters stormed the Poznan Cathedral chanting slogans including “Catholics need abortions too” during service on Sunday.

The mass was canceled and 30 protesters were given citations by police.

Robert Bakiewicz, the leader of the far-right group that clashed with the protesters at the Church of the Holy Cross, said nationalist groups would create a “national guard” to defend churches from protesters.