Poland's New Abortion Law Affects All Of Us
Let's stand with the women fighting for control over their bodies.
On Monday, Dagmar, 26 yo, participated in one of the many protests against the introduction of an extremely strict abortion law in Poland. Another man, in the very center of the capital, Warsaw threatened him, his boyfriend, and other participants to gas and kill them unless they stopped protesting. The man took the firearm out of his car’s boot and aimed it at them for a few seconds. He ran away only after someone wanted to call the police.
Yet, it’s not certain whether the police would help Dagmar and his friends. On the same day, two protesting women were hit by a car. The driver, whose offense was later considered as minor, turned out to be an officer of The Internal Security Agency. Currently, the police overwatching the protests is being joined by the military police, on the pretense of a harsh pandemic situation. Justifiably, many people on the streets are chanting 'This is war.' And they’re not going to give up on protesting.
Last week Poland’s top court banned almost all abortions, including those carried out in case of the fetus’ malformation. Polish abortion law was already among the strictest in Europe but this decision has made it even stricter. For now, the terminations will be permitted only in case of rape, incest, or mother’s health at risk but extremely conservative politicians want to go further.
Kaja Godek, a pro-life activist, compared post-rape abortion to murdering rape victims in some countries. She added that, in this aspect, Poland was no different from 'barbaric cultures.' On the other hand, Krzysztof Bosak, conservative MP, and a leader of the extreme right-wing, when asked about women’s trauma after a child’s immediate death, said that 'if it's children's destiny to die, they must die anyway.' Strict abortion laws and the pro-life movement were essential elements of his presidential campaign this summer.
Simultaneously, many pro-lifers, including Kaja Godek, refuse to wear face masks. Additionally, in the pre-election period this summer, Polish PM, Mateusz Morawiecki assured that the virus was 'disappearing,' while encouraging the citizens to flock into the election. Meanwhile, the country’s vice prime minister and leader of governing party Law and Justice, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, accused the protesters of endangering the society, dealing with the pandemic. His Tuesday speech has been already compared to the one given by the dictator Wojciech Jaruzelski in 1981, right before the declaration of martial law. Kaczynski also said that the protesters threatened 'fundamental Polish morality.'
And there are thousands of them. Wearing masks and socially distancing, they are marching on the streets, blocking the cities, occupying the parliament, houses of political leaders, and churches. While they are chanting 'Get The Fuck Out,' a unitary feeling can be sensed among them: fury. Because their government crossed the line.
The protests take place not only in big cities, like the capital Warsaw, Cracow, Poznan, or Wroclaw but also, in small towns and villages. Extremely traditional communities, until now supportive of the ruling party, join in. For example, in Garwolin, with only 17,000 inhabitants, it has been the first protest ever since the declaration of martial law.
This is no longer a left-wing cause. This is the nation’s fight for fundamental rights and it even steps beyond Poland. Celebrities like Anja Rubik, Miley Cyrus, and Dua Lipa joined in, publicizing the matter, while Polish embassies all over the world are being occupied by protesters. As they keep on screaming, accompanied by Star Wars soundtrack, they prove that this is actually the war.
On Friday, thousands of people will walk out on the streets of Warsaw, a week after the law has been introduced, to manifest their fury again. Like every day so far this week, they will be chanting 'Our Bodies, Our Choice' and we’re adding our article to express our support.
Since Alabama last year, a women's right to choose has been eroded on a global and unprecedented scale. The knockdown effect of populist and right-wing governments enforcing ownership over women's bodies is something that affects all of us, regardless of whether it's happening in your country or not. Here is a document for English speakers which is collated by the organizers of the protests advising how best to help from outside Poland. If you have a moment, please take the time to join in the fight for control over bodies.