About 24,000 women and men protested on the streets of Poland's capital Warsaw on October 3 to oppose a proposed bill that will ban abortions in all cases except when the mother's life in in danger.
The women wore blank and held signs in the "Black Protest" organized by pro-abortion rights groups. The organizers had encouraged women to skip work on Monday to join the demonstrations.
The activists are planning more protests in other cities around Europe.
The new bill will impose heavy penalties on abortion providers and women who terminate pregnancies in cases other than danger to a mother's life. Offenders will be liable for prison sentences of up to five years.
The current abortion law makes abortion illegal except in cases of incest, rape, anomalies of the fetus, or when the mother's life is threatened.
However, Down Syndrome babies have also been terminated under this law which allows abortion in cases of anomalies of the fetus.
The abortion bill was proposed by the ruling Law and Justice party, and on September 23 was accepted by a wide majority of lawmakers in parliament. The bill got approved by 267 vs 154 votes in the Polish parliament.
A parliamentary committee is now evaluating the bill.
The new bill was proposed after a 24 year-week-old baby was born alive in March and left to die at Holy Family Hospital in Warsaw. The baby screamed for about an hour, and was ignored by the medicals staff. Medical tests of the baby showed that the baby had Down Syndrome.