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Protests in Warsaw. Photo: Omar Marques/Getty Images

Poland's conservative government has delayed the implementation of a ruling that would ban abortion in nearly all cases after two weeks of protests across the country.

Why it matters: The constitutional court ruling would make abortion illegal except in cases of rape, incest or a risk to the life of the mother. The motion sparked daily protests, with tens of thousands marching through major cities.

  • Poland's abortion laws were already among the strictest in Europe before the court ruled that fetuses with congenital defects could not be aborted.
  • That ruling doesn't have legal standing until it's formally published, and the government has delayed that step due to the protests — (the delay is itself controversial for a government that has been accused of undermining the judiciary).

Driving the news: Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has called for dialogue with the protesters and opposition.

  • “There is a discussion going on, and it would be good to take some time for dialogue and for finding a new position in this situation that is difficult and stirs high emotions,” his office said in a statement.
  • President Andrzej Duda has proposed a new law that would only allow abortions in cases where the fetus has a life-threatening defect — a proposal that's unlikely to appease protesters.
  • The leader of the ruling Law and Justice party, Jarosław Kaczyński, has taken a harder line. He denounced the protesters and called on his party's backers to defend churches from vandalism "at all costs" — rhetoric some claimed was fomenting violence.

What to watch: Law and Justice is falling in the polls amid the standoff and a second wave of COVID-19, per Bloomberg.

Go deeper

Updated Nov 5, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump supporters protest outside Arizona voting center during vote-counting

Supporters of President Trump gather outside the Maricopa County Elections Department office in Phoenix, Arizona, late Wednesday. Photo: Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

Supporters of President Trump protested outside an Arizona election center late Wednesday, chanting "count the votes!" as elections officials continued to tabulate ballots in a state that Joe Biden is projected to win.

Why it matters: The Trump campaign was furious that Fox News and AP called Arizona for Biden on Tuesday night with hundreds of thousands of votes still outstanding, as a victory for the Democrat would significantly narrow Trump's possible path to 270 electoral votes.

8 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

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