Thousands of women in Poland called for a National Strike against the new abortion law, approved on last September 23. The LP, presented to Congress by the group Stop Abortion in form of signature request by independent citizens, proposes the prohibition of all kind of abortion, even in cases of rape, incest, risk of life of the mother and/or fetus, and fetus malformations, with punishment of up to 5 years in prison (longer than the rapists).
By Ari Russo.
Besides, by not being able to prove the cause of abortion, the doctors that provide basic health care to women in situation of abortion, even miscarriages, might suffer the punishment of prohibition of exercise or even criminal processes.
The LP, approved by absolute majority in the Chamber of Deputies, comes together with two proposals presented also in September by the Law and Justice Party [PiS, right-wing party in turn since October 2015] and the Polish Federation Pro-Life Movements respectively –supported by the Catholic Church- to restrict the freezing of embryos (for in vitro fertilization), and to punish with up to 2 years of prison the sell/use of the morning-after pill. In other words, the approval of the anti-abortion LP is part of a package of offensive adjustment measures against women’s rights, specifically working women, who have more difficulties, economically and psychologically, to raise an unwanted child, even more in cases of children with serious congenital problems.
Poland currently has the more restrictive abortion law in Europe, and the proposal of the government, the Church and the right-wing sectors is to restrict even more the freedom of choice, even in cases of life risk. Thus, the demonstration, called “Black Monday” and inspired in the major protest of October 1975 in Iceland, counted with the participation and with the support of anti-abortion and practicing Catholics sectors, which consider that one thing is not to encourage abortion and something different is to punish women who are rapped more than the rapist himself or to deny health care to women who suffer miscarriages. The call encouraged women to be absent of their jobs or domestic work for one day, and the participation was much higher than expected (the general support of the population was around 80%, while the active support with participation of the rally was 50%), raising slogans like “Let us stop the fanatics,” “We want doctors, not missionaries” and “My body, my choice.”
After the protest, Jarosław Kaczyńsk, PiS leader, was forced to declare they can consider the implementation of the ban only in cases of malformation, but it will not be banned or punished in cases of rape or incest.
The step-back of the PiS is a conquest of the great demonstration taken ahead by the brave Polish women. However, we believe it is not enough, as the LP, even if partially implemented, will still restrict even more the little power of decision of women over her body and life. Even banning the abortion just in cases of malformation, we know the State will no guarantee the mothers of malformed children or with congenital problems the necessary care to guarantee for a lifetime the cares these type of problems demand (like special health and education, special work regime for the mother, psychological treatment for life, etc.). Thus, we demand the immediate derogation of the LP and all its articles. We express our solidarity and admiration to the strong struggle of Polish women, as we consider the strike to be the way and an example for all working women around the world. We call to continue the struggle and raise our voices around the world in solidarity with the Polish women, and in defense of our right to decide when to be mothers.