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Poles Vent Anger at Leader Over His Policies, Ideas on Women

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Protesters gathered Monday at the home of Poland’s ruling party leader to vent anger at what they regard as an erosion of women’s rights under his conservative government and a recent remark about women using alcohol.

The protesters who gathered outside Jaroslaw Kaczynski’s house spoke out against a near total ban on abortion pushed by his Law and Justice party that took effect last year, as well as policies that discourage in-vitro fertilization procedures.

Women’s Strike, a prominent women’s rights movement, called people to the streets only after Kaczynski earlier this month blamed Poland’s low birthrate partly on young women drinking too much alcohol.

Other demonstrations were taking place in a handful of Polish cities.

While the alcohol comment angered many at the time, the outrage appeared to have subsided as the protest was much smaller than some of the Women’s Strike-led demonstrations of the past year, some of which were huge.

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Some people accuse Kaczynski, a 73-year-old bachelor, of being out of touch and not understanding all the reasons that make it difficult today for women to decide to have children.

Women’s Strike says there are many reasons for the country’s low birth rate, including Poland’s de facto prohibition of abortion, a lack of general access to sexual education and in vitro procedures, high inflation, a housing shortage and a lack of access to day care centers .

The protest was being held on a symbolic day: the 104th anniversary of women winning voting rights in Poland, among the world’s earliest.

Kaczynski said at a news conference ahead of the protest that he didn’t understand why the protesters chose to demonstrate in front of his home “since I have always been a supporter of full equality for women.”

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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