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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

Biden rescinds anti-abortion "global gag rule"

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Biden on Thursday rescinded the "global gag rule," a policy that bans international organizations that receive U.S. funding from providing abortion services or offering information about abortion.

Why it matters: The Reagan-era rule, also known as the Mexico City policy, has historically been rescinded or rolled back by Democratic presidents and reinstated by Republican ones. The Trump administration also expanded the rule to include virtually all global health aid.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Senate action on stimulus bill continues as Dems reach deal on jobless aid

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Democratic leaders struck an agreement with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) on emergency unemployment insurance late Friday, clearing the way for Senate action on President Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus package to resume after an hours-long delay.

The state of play: The Senate will now work through votes on a series of amendments that are expected to last overnight into early Saturday morning.

Capitol review panel recommends more police, mobile fencing

Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

A panel appointed by Congress to review security measures at the Capitol is recommending several changes, including mobile fencing and a bigger Capitol police force, to safeguard the area after a riotous mob breached the building on Jan. 6.

Why it matters: Law enforcement officials have warned there could be new plots to attack the area and target lawmakers, including during a speech President Biden is expected to give to a joint session of Congress.

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