#BlackMonday in Poland partially successful

This Monday was #BlackMonday in Poland, a massive call for women & allies to go on strike to protest a proposed total ban on abortion:

The proposed law would further tighten Poland’s abortion laws, already among the strictest in Europe, by eliminating access to the procedure for rape survivors or in the case of fatal fetal abnormalities. The law would also prohibit medical personnel from performing abortions unless a woman was in “imminent” danger of dying and could effectively criminalize miscarriage.

The proposed bill survived its first parliamentary vote last week and was referred to a parliamentary committee for further input.

“Going to [the proposed] total ban would be something really odious, and something that would make life of women there extremely dangerous,” Irene Donadio, public affairs manager for the International Planned Parenthood Federation’s European Network, told BuzzFeed News by telephone.

Proving as ever that “life” has nothing to do with their policies, forced birther advocates don’t seem to be particularly concerned about the consequences of these draconian bans. (emphasis mine)

What is the current situation?

Abortion is already mostly banned. The only exceptions are a severe and irreversible damage to the foetus, a serious threat to the mother’s health, or the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.

As a result, even by conservative estimates there are far more illegal abortions than legal ones in Poland – between 10,000 and 150,000, compared to about 1,000 or 2,000 legal terminations.

Access to contraception has also been tightened. The only over-the-counter contraception now available is the condom.

Who are the anti-abortion activists and what do they want?

The main group is called Stop Abortion. They demand what is widely regarded in Poland as a total ban, even in cases of rape and incest. The only exception would be where the mother’s life was in danger. Their petition calling for a ban attracted 450,000 signatures, triggering Friday’s debate in parliament, where their motion was sent to a committee for further consideration.

Stop Abortion argues that human life starts at conception and should be protected from that moment. The government does not officially back its view, but figures such as Prime Minister Beata Szydlo and the deputy justice minister Patryk Jaki have indicated it has their personal support.

Under the proposed new legislation, abortion would be punishable with an five-year prison term. Doctors already risk punishment if they are found to have carried out an illegal termination, but under the new legislation all doctors performing abortions would be criminalised.

With laws like these in place, women suffering miscarriages are less likely to seek out medical attention, lest they be accused of inducing an abortion. Jail or death? What a wonderful strategy in favour of “life.”

So not only has contraception been restricted, but now the forced birther lobby wants to make criminals of women who have the audacity to exercise their bodily autonomy.

What, exactly, is pro-“life” about this? There is no rational way to interpret these forced birther lobbies other than their painfully sadistic intentions to punish women who have sex outside the patriarchal confines of the oppressive Catholic Church. Nothing makes this more apparent than the observation that criminalizing or restricting abortion doesn’t actually stop abortions from happening–it just pushes it into the black market, where women are at significantly greater risk.

You want to reduce the number of abortions? Implement comprehensive sex education and free contraception. It’s that easy.

The #BlackMonday protest was partially successful. The far-right party has retracted any interest in pursuing the total ban. The “compromise,” which still spits in the face of women’s rights, is likely to remain:

The government softens its stance – Adam Easton, BBC News, Warsaw

Poland’s foreign minister, Witold Wasczykowski, belittled Monday’s nationwide protest, calling it marginal and making a mockery of important issues.

But faced with such widespread opposition, Poland’s governing right-wing Law and Justice party, has softened its stance.

It has also dropped a plan to write its own bill that would further restrict the country’s abortion law.

It seems likely that the current 23-year-old compromise, which only allows the procedure in cases of rape or incest, or when the health of the mother or foetus is endangered, will remain in place.

We haven’t forgotten Savita Halappanavar, nor the countless women in anonymity who have died thanks to the crimes committed in the name of an invisible Sky Daddy. It is not the place of pompous pedophilic men to dictate to women a system of ethics predicated on a god damn fairy tale.



  1. says

    With laws like these in place, women suffering miscarriages are less likely to seek out medical attention, lest they be accused of inducing an abortion. Jail or death? What a wonderful strategy in favour of “life.”

    It would also make women hesitant to seek healthcare in the first trimester. After all, an early miscarriage is in many cases not more difficult or dangerous than your period. When I had a D&C after my miscarriage ( a so called “missed abortion”: the fetus dies but your body kind of doesn’t notice and doesn’t shed the uterine lining) it was purely for the sake of not fucking me up psychologically even more. I know women for whom it was beneficial to wait until their period started again and as long as there are no signs of infection, that’s OK.
    To sum it up: If you know you’ve got a 1 in 5 chance of suffering a miscarriage, and if you know you could be jailed for it (as it already happens in parts of Latin America) if the doctors find out, you will delay going for check ups because if nobody knows you’re pregnant nobody can jail you for a miscarriage they don’t know anything about.
    Which of course makes it more dangerous and increases the amount of miscarriages. Ectopic pregnancies can be picked up by ultrasound before they become dangerous and some miscarriages can even be prevented by medical intervention (Hello world. This is me. My mum suffered bleeding throughout the first trimester but doctors could help her to keep her wanted pregnancy).
    Pro life my ass.