Polish Demonstrators March to Demand Complete Abortion Ban

Thousands of Poles took to Warsaw's streets Wednesday to demand a complete ban on abortion, including in cases of rape or incest.

Two separate marches merged into a demonstration of 4,000 people in front of parliament, where lawmakers were debating amending the constitution to tighten Poland's anti-abortion law, already among the most restrictive in the EU.

"I am for life," said Miroslawa Kledzinska, 64. "God gives life and only he has the right to take life away."

Poland's abortion law allows termination of a pregnancy until the 12th week if the mother's life is in danger, the fetus is irreparably damaged or the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.

President Lech Kaczynski has put forward one of three separate proposals to amend the constitution to prohibit abortion completely.

However, none has a chance of being adopted while the main opposition Civic Platform party remains opposed. A two-thirds majority is needed in the 460-member lower house to change the constitution.

A vote is expected in April.

The two marches were organized by an ultraconservative Roman Catholic radio station and a right-wing political party.

Mostly elderly demonstrators attended a Mass and marched through central Warsaw carrying Polish and Vatican flags. One banner had an image of a baby and the words, "Can you really kill me?"

Elsewhere in the capital, about 700 mostly young people held a rally with music and balloons in support of abortion rights.

One banner read, "Not the pope, not the president, I will decide myself."