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World HRW calls on Polish government to drop charges against MP who marched in favor of abortion

14:31  04 december  2022
14:31  04 december  2022 Source:   news360.es

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The NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW), which specializes in monitoring the international humanitarian situation, has called on the Polish authorities to "immediately" drop the charges against MP Joanna Scheuring-Wielgus for marching in favor of abortion and for which she faces up to four years in prison.

Archive - Protest against abortion restrictions in Krakow (Poland) - Alex Bona/SOPA Images via ZUMA P / DPA © Provided by News 360 Archive - Protest against abortion restrictions in Krakow (Poland) - Alex Bona/SOPA Images via ZUMA P / DPA

On October 25, 2020, together with her husband, Piotr Wielgus, Scheuring-Wielgus carried a banner in a church in Torun, central Poland, that read "Woman, you can decide for yourself" to protest a Constitutional Tribunal ruling that essentially eliminated access to legal abortion in Poland.

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In December 2020, the attorney general, Zbigniew Ziobro, initiated a motion to strip Scheuring-Wielgus of her parliamentary legal immunity for the protest, which successfully culminated last Nov. 20.

Finally, last Tuesday, the Torun Prosecutor's Office charged the leftist Lewica party MP, now without immunity, with "offending religious feelings" and "malicious interference in religious worship." Each offense carries a penalty of up to two years in prison. She pleaded not guilty. Her husband, accused of the same charges, has been acquitted.

HRW researcher Hillary Margolis has denounced that "the indictment of an MP for a peaceful protest is an undeniably alarming escalation in the Polish government's efforts to criminalize not only abortion but anyone who openly supports reproductive rights.

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HRW recalls that abortion is now only permitted in Poland to safeguard a woman's life or health or if the pregnancy is the result of a crime, such as rape or incest.

In practice, however, multiple barriers make it nearly impossible for people who may seek a legal abortion to obtain one, according to the organization.

"Evidence consistently demonstrates that laws that restrict or criminalize abortion do not eliminate abortion, but rather drive people to seek abortion through means that may put their mental and physical health at risk and diminish their autonomy and dignity," the NGO laments.

The Polish government should drop the trumped-up charges against Scheuring-Wielgus and other women's and LGBT rights activists, and reverse course to ensure access to safe and legal abortion and other essential reproductive health services, Human Rights Watch said.

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usr: 1
This is interesting!