The fight for womens rights in Poland continues

The fight for women’s rights in Poland is far from over with certain politicians continuing to call for further restrictions to the country’s already strict abortion regulations.

 

Earlier this month Poland’s pro-choice protesters seemed to have succeeded in making their voices heard as the Polish parliament voted to reject the proposed near total ban on abortion. Polish law on abortion is already one of the most restrictive in Europe. The proposed law would have made abortion all but illegal with prison sentences of up to five years imposed on anyone found to have carried out a termination, except for in cases proven to be an immediate and undeniable threat to a woman’s life. The proposal sparked the now famous Black Monday protests on October 3rd, with an estimated 100,000 women taking to the streets across Poland, and hundreds of other protests happening worldwide in solidarity. These protests lead to a quick U-turn from the government, and an overwhelming number of MPs voted against the bill.

However, the victory was short lived. Jarosław Kaczyński, head of the ruling Law and Justice party has said that his party “will strive to ensure that even pregnancies which are very difficult, when a child is sure to die, very deformed, still end up in a birth, so that the child can be baptised, buried, have a name”.

For pro-choice campaigners statements such as this, reducing women to little more than walking wombs, is all too familiar, and it seems that the women of Poland have had enough. In the weeks since the first protests, the grassroots movement advocating for abortion rights have not quietened down, and are now calling for better sex education, and easier access to birth control. They have also made it clear that the influential Roman Catholic church must end its “interference” in political life and public education. It is for this reason that growing number of Poles are now formally leaving the Catholic church.

On Mon 24th October, protestors dressed in black, a symbol of mourning for the feared loss of reproductive rights, once again took to the streets. Encouragingly, the Black Protests appear to have shifted wider public opinion on the issue, with recent polls suggesting not only near-overwhelming opposition to the proposed ban, but increasing support for the liberalisation of existing laws. The current law, passed in 1993, bans most abortions, with exceptions only made in cases of rape, if the mother’s life or health is at risk, or in cases of severe foetal abnormality.

Further discussions of strategies, including potential plans for international action days and/or strikes, are now being held by campaigners.


 

Notes:

For further comment please contact Gary McLelland on 07813060713 or gary@humanism.scot.

For more information on HSS’s legal challenge see: https://www.humanism.scot/what-we-do/news/humanists-to-challenge-scottish-government-in-courts/

About HSS: Humanist Society Scotland seeks to represent the views of people in Scotland who wish to lead ethical and fulfilling lives guided by reason, empathy and compassion. We provide a range of non-religious ceremonies and campaign for a secular state. HSS has over 14,000 members across Scotland.

 

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