Poland abortion: March to defend rights in Warsaw

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Media captionBen Hennessy reports: Organisers said the march was "an impulse move" after the news that abortion laws might be tightened

Several thousand people have demonstrated in Warsaw against a proposal for an almost total ban on abortions in Poland.

The "March for Dignity" was organised by ordinary women to defend women's rights and also focused on violence against women.

Poland's laws on abortion are already among the most restrictive in Europe.

Anti-abortion groups are seeking a law which would allow terminations only to save a pregnant woman's life.

Currently the procedure is allowed in cases of rape or incest, if the woman's life is in danger, or if the foetus has medical problems.

The BBC's Adam Easton, in Warsaw, says the two anti-abortion groups who are collecting signatures to introduce the bill have been emboldened by the fact that Poland is now governed by the conservative Law and Justice party.

The party promotes traditional Catholic values.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Poland already has restrictive laws on abortion and many women travel abroad for the procedure

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