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article imagePoland approves restrictions on morning-after pill

By AFP     Jun 23, 2017 in World

Poland's President Andrzej Duda approved on Friday a new law limiting access to the morning-after pill in the devoutly Catholic country, which already has one of the EU's most restrictive abortion rules.

The contraception method will from now on be available only by prescription, while previously it could be bought over the counter by people 15 and older, an official statement said.

The new restrictions were pushed through in May by Poland's ruling rightwing Law and Justice (PiS) party, with which Duda is closely allied.

Last year, the PiS also tried to tighten the already restrictive abortion law but buckled under pressure from tens of thousands of black-clad women who protested nationwide.

The parliament wound up rejecting the controversial bill that would have allowed abortions only if the woman's life was at risk and increased the maximum jail term for practitioners from two years to five.

Passed in 1993, the current legislation bans all abortions unless there was rape or incest, the pregnancy poses a health risk to the mother or the foetus is severely deformed.

Home to 38 million people, Poland sees fewer than 2,000 legal abortions a year, but women's groups estimate that another 100,000 to 150,000 procedures are performed illegally or abroad.

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