Women in Poland is going on a nationwide strike on Monday to protest the proposed draconian ban on abortions. Poland, a Catholic country has a very restrictive law on abortion even now.
Poland already has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe, with terminations legally permitted only when the life of the foetus is under threat, when there is a grave threat to the health of the mother, and in the instance that the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest.
Were the proposed ban to be enacted, all terminations would be criminalised, with women punishable with up to five years in prison. Doctors found to have assisted with a termination would also be liable for prosecution and a prison term.
Critics say that would mean that even a woman who suffers a miscarriage could be under criminal suspicion, and that doctors might be put off conducting even routine procedures on pregnant women for fear of being accused of facilitating a termination.
Although a ban has received public support from elements of the Catholic church and Poland’s ruling rightwing Law and Justice party (PiS), neither initiated the proposals. They were drafted by hardline conservative advocacy group Ordo Iuris and submitted by the Stop Abortion coalition as a “citizens’ initiative” – a petition considered by parliament once it has received more than 100,000 signatures.
Known locally as the “black protest”, official strikes will be taking place in over 60 different Polish cities. In an act of solidarity, a number of businesses and corporations have reportedly pledged to shut their doors as part of the strike. Protesters are also encouraged to wear black and post photos on social media of them participating in the action.
A leaflet circulated online states: “Black protest in defence of the right to life and health of women in Poland. We demand access to reliable sex education, contraception and effective in vitro procedures. We oppose the further tightening [of] abortion laws.
“What can you do? Rather than go to work, go [to] a demonstration. If you have to be at work or at home: Dress in black, take a picture and post [on] social media with the hashtag #BlackProtest #CzarnyProtest to show solidarity. Talk to your mother, sister, cousin, friend, colleague. Tell them about the strike and the situation in Poland.”
Even many devout Roman Catholics are against the proposed law as it make a rape victim who abort spend more time in jail than the rapist.
Will such a draconian law ever be considered if men are also getting pregnant ? Highly unlikely.
The protesters hope to change the minds of political parties with a show of strength. I hope men in large numbers join the protesters and together they defeat this religion inspired murderous assault on women’s rights.