This article originally appeared on VICE Poland
Thousands protested in front of the Polish Parliament on Thursday night, against a near-total ban on abortion, while inside the building MPs debated on three draft laws. The demonstration was organised by pro-choice coalition Save Women and left-wing political party Razem. A smaller counter-demonstration also took place at the same place, at the same time. The two groups were separated by a police cordon.
Two of the drafts discussed in the Parliament on Thursday had been enrolled by citizen's initiatives. The first one was a result of the 'Stop Abortion' campaign, calling for a complete ban on all abortions, and the persecution of anyone who performs them or whose actions can lead to the termination of a pregnancy. The petition landed in parliament with over 400,000 signatures. On the other hand, a Save Women petition that called for Polish women to have the right to abort a pregnancy that has not surpassed its 12th week, only managed to attract 200,000 signatures.
The third draft law was only the initiative of a small group of MPs, and it called for significant constrictions on the practise of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) in Poland, that could make it almost impossible for infertile couples to conceive.
On Friday morning, Polish lawmakers voted in favour of the abortion ban and IVF constrictions. The Save Women campaign was dismissed. A new protest against the abortion ban has been planned for the 1st of October.