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Poland's abortion ban: President Andrzej Duda appears to backtrack after a week of protests

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Women's rights activists and their supporters block rush-hour traffic in Warsaw during a pro abortion rally
Women's rights activists and their supporters block rush-hour traffic in Warsaw during a pro abortion rally   -   Copyright  Credit: AP photos
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Poland's president, Andrzej Duda, appears to have broken ranks with the government and backed demonstrators protesting over tighter abortion laws.

A recent ruling by the country's constitutional court banned virtually all abortions, sparking a week of protests.

Duda said on Thursday he thinks women should have the right to abortion in some cases.

“It cannot be that the law requires this kind of heroism from a woman,” he said in an interview with radio RMF FM. The president said he still favours outlawing abortion in cases of fetuses with non-lethal congenital defects.

"Abortion is the thing that was deeply polarising to society over the last five years," Malgorzata Szuleka, a lawyer at Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights in Warsaw, told Euronews.

"The current governing majority — which is represented also by Andrzej Duda — took several attempts to restrict the abortion law.

"It's important to say Poland has one of the most restricted access to abortion across all the European countries.

"The latest decision taken by the constitutional tribunal was some sort of a bypass of the parliament because every time the government and parliament tried to restrict abortion they were confronted with massive social protests."

Watch more of Szuleka's interview in the video player, above.