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Protesters in Poland claim a pregnant woman died due to new abortion law

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By Mark Armstrong  with AFP
Protesters in Poland claim a pregnant woman died due to new abortion law
Copyright  AFP

Tens of thousands of women took to the streets of Poland on Friday after the death of a pregnant woman.

They consider the woman to be the first victim of the country's new ultra restrictive abortion law.

The 30-year-old woman died of septicemia in hospital after her 22-month-old foetus died in her womb, the family's lawyer Jolanta Budzowska tweeted.

The tragedy comes nine months after the Constitutional Court validated legislation practically banning terminations except under certain extreme circumstances.

Doctors refused to abort the foetus, opting to wait for it to die naturally inside her uterus.

"Although in theory, they (the doctors) could terminate the pregnancy because it endangered the mother's life, they were afraid and waited for the fetus to die naturally. If they had acted earlier, this woman would be alive," claimed Warsaw city councillor Dorota Loboda, who was at the protest.

The hospital suspended the doctors concerned, but supporters of the law say the death of the woman is not related to the ban.

Women's rights groups said they organised similar demonstrations in around 70 other Polish towns and cities.

Some charities and pressure groups have called the European Commission to immediately implement a mechanism that could see Poland denied funds from Brussels for not respecting "EU values".