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Protesters shout slogans against police lines around the deputy prime minister's house. Photo: Wojtek Radwanski / Getty Images

Thousands of protesters turned out on Friday in cities across Poland following a Thursday court ruling banning almost all abortions, the BBC reports.

Why it matters: Opinion polls show a "clear majority" against further restricting abortions in the country, per BBC. Poland, a Roman Catholic country, was already said to have one of the strictest abortion laws in Europe.

Details: The ruling makes abortion illegal except when the child-bearer’s health is at risk or in cases of rape or incest.

  • Abortions due to a malformed fetus are also illegal now. Such cases made up 98% of legal terminations last year.
  • Less than 2,000 legal terminations are completed annually, but as many as 200,000 women seek abortions abroad or illegally to skirt restrictions, women's groups estimate.

The state of play: Protesters rallied in Krakow, Poznan, Warsaw, Wroclaw and other cities on Friday, broadcaster TVN reports. In Warsaw, hundreds crowded the home of Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who leads the governing Law and Justice party that launched the legal challenge.

  • Some women wore long red dresses and white bonnets that evoked women's oppression from the book "The Handmaid's Tale." Others wrote the word "torture" in large letters on handheld signs.
  • Law enforcement said officers deployed pepper spray and physical force after some protesters threw stones and attempted to move past police lines surrounding Kaczynski’s home.

The context: Poland’s ruling comes on the heels of the U.S. push for allies to follow its lead in ending abortion.

A protestor shows her hand written 'Get the fuck out of here' during a demonstration against a decision by the Constitutional Court on abortion law restriction, in Warsaw, Poland, on Oct. 23. Photo: JANEK SKARZYNSKI / Getty Images
Protestors attend a demonstration against a decision by the Constitutional Court on abortion law restriction, in Warsaw, Poland. Photo: JANEK SKARZYNSKI / Getty Images
Protestors face off with riot police guarding the house of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of Poland's ruling Law and Justice party, in Warsaw on Oct. 23. Photo: WOJTEK RADWANSKI / Getty Images

Go deeper: U.S. signs anti-abortion declaration with conservative countries

Go deeper

Nov 22, 2020 - World

Guatemala protesters set fire to part of country's Congress building

Demonstrators set on fire part of the Congress building during a protest in Guatemala City on Saturday. Photo: Orlando Estrada/AFP via Getty Images

Guatemalan riot police moved in to quell unrest after hundreds of demonstrators stormed the country's Congress and set fire to part of the building Saturday, per the BBC.

The big picture: Some 7,000 protesters rallied in Guatemala City to demand President Alejandro Giammattei resign over the 2021 budget passed earlier in the week, which cut funds to COVID-19 programs but "approved $65,000" to cover politicians' meals, per AP. Opposition lawmakers said firms with government connections got priority for "big infrastructure projects," the BBC notes.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with news of the riot police moving in.

Updated 11 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Sen. Kelly Loeffler to return to campaign trail after 2nd negative test

Sen. Kelly Loeffler addresses supporters during a rally on Thursday. Photo: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

Sen. Kelly Loeffler's (R-Ga.) campaign announced Monday that she "looks forward to getting back out on the campaign trail" after testing negative for COVID-19 for a second time, following earlier conflicting results.

Why it matters: Loeffler has been campaigning at events ahead of a Jan. 5 runoff in elections that'll decide which party holds the Senate majority. Vice President Mike Pence was with her on Friday.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Key government agency says Biden transition can formally begin

General Services Administrator Emily Murphy. Photo: Alex Edelman/CNP/Getty Images

General Services Administrator Emily Murphy said in a letter to President-elect Joe Biden on Monday that she has determined the transition from the Trump administration can formally begin.

Why it matters: Murphy, a Trump appointee, had come under fire for delaying the so-called "ascertainment" and withholding the funds and information needed for the transition to begin while Trump's legal challenges played out.

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