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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 March 2007, 15:57 GMT 16:57 UK
Polish rally urges abortion ban
Polish rally
The anti-abortion rally follows a recent court case
Thousands of demonstrators have marched in the Polish capital, Warsaw, calling for a total ban on abortion even in cases of rape or incest.

The 3,000 people joining the rally said it should not even be offered when the pregnancy threatens the mother's life.

A pro-choice rally elsewhere in the city drew about 1,000 people.

Last week a Polish woman was awarded damages by the European Court of Human Rights because her eyesight was damaged after she was denied an abortion

The protest was organised by the extreme-right wing League of Polish Families in the wake of the decision to award Alicja Tysiac 25,000 euros ($33,000; 16,000).

The League and Catholic groups in the predominantly Roman Catholic country are calling for the government to fight the court's decision.

Vision impaired

The 35-year-old mother was refused an abortion despite warnings that having a baby could make her go blind.

Ms Tysiac's suffered a retinal haemorrhage and her eyesight worsened drastically after she had the baby, her third child, and she fears she may go blind.

Alicja Tysiac in Strasbourg
The court decided that Poland had violated Mrs Tysiac's rights
She now wears glasses with thick powerful lenses but she cannot see objects more than a metre and a half (5ft) away.

The Strasbourg court ruled that the mother of three's human rights had been violated when she was denied an abortion on therapeutic grounds.

A counter protest organised by pro-choice campaigners was also held in the city, drawing about 1,000 people.

Staunchly Catholic Poland already has some of the world's strictest laws on abortion.

It currently only allows abortion before the 12th week if the mother's life is at risk, or the foetus unviable or the result of rape or incest.

Polish women's rights groups estimate there are just 200 legal abortions performed every year.


SEE ALSO
Polish woman wins abortion case
20 Mar 07 |  Europe
On board Poland's abortion ship
07 Jul 03 |  Europe

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