Socialist Worker

Back on the streets fighting for abortion rights in Poland

by Agnieszka Kaleta in Poland
Issue No. 2740

Marching in Wrocla on Friday

Marching in Wroclaw on Friday (Pic: Krzysztof Zatycki/NurPhoto/PA Images)


The fight for basic abortion rights is on the streets of Poland again. 

A shameful and cruel ruling of a rigged constitutional tribunal was published last Wednesday.

It introduces a near-total ban on abortion meaning that, even if the foetus is severely damaged and has no chances of survival, women will still have to give birth.

The repressive nature of the ban means a strong chilling effect on doctors and anyone wishing to help women access an abortion.

A few days before the ruling was published, a man who gave his partner money for abortion pills was sentenced to six months in prison.

Rights

The situation in Poland around women’s reproductive rights has been unbearable since the mid-1990s. The state and the Catholic Church worked hand-in-hand to make Polish women second-class citizens.

Poland already has some of the most draconian anti-abortion laws in the world.

Pro-choice protests sweep through Poland
How the protests began in October
  Read More

Around 150,000-200,000 women a year are forced to go abroad or have illegal, expensive abortions. 

But this draconian new law amounts to the torture of pregnant women and is a reminder for us all that our rights are never set in stone.

Protests have again exploded onto the streets of town and cities throughout Poland. Once again we are at the forefront of the battle for safe and legal abortion.

The demonstration on Friday recalled the first days in October with many thousands on the streets of the capital. It was the 100th day since the protests began.

“My body, my choice," “The revolution has a uterus,” and, “You have blood on your hands,” read some of the placards at the protests.

Agnieszka Kaleta

Agnieszka Kaleta

The movement over the last three months is bigger than in 2016 and 2018. On those occasions, government attempts at harsher abortion bans were defeated.

We have seen the biggest protest movement since demonstrations were legalised 30 years ago.

But the ultra-conservative Law and Justice government is continuing with its attacks. 

There are also anti-fascist slogans on the protests and anti-capitalism is popular with many of the young people.

At the same time, it would help a lot if the best-known leaders of the movement pushed the unions to mobilise and perhaps call for workplace action.

We really hope this is a turning point in our struggle—and  that our harsh abortion laws will soon belong to the past.

The success of movements in Ireland and recently Argentina sent a message of hope to all women threatened by strict abortion laws. And especially to those of our sisters who are most socially and economically disadvantaged.

The movement is not weakening and we are determined it will continue until free abortion on demand is won.

Agnieszka Kaleta is a member of Pracownicza Demokracja (Workers Democracy), the sister organisation of the SWP in Poland. Watch a video of the protests here

 


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