Poland: Back to the Dark Ages

Protests set to intensify across Poland as abortion ban comes into effect

The National Women’s Strike in Poland called for countrywide protests after the controversial judgment by the Polish constitutional court banning abortions in case of fetal defects came into effect on Wednesday

January 28, 2021
Photo: Strajk Kobiet/Twitter

Protests are set to intensify in Poland after the right-wing government enacted a controversial ban on abortion which had been declared by the country’s constitutional court. On January 27, Wednesday, thousands gathered Warsaw and other cities across the country. The call for the protests was given by the National Women’s Strike in Poland, and it saw the participation of activists from other progressive sections, as well as the Polish Left. In addition to Warsaw, protest marches were held in Krakow, Lublin, Gdańsk, Katowice, Gdynia, Poznań, and other cities. The Women’s Strike has given the call for continuing the protests till January 31.

Wednesday’s protests followed the government’s announcement of the publication of the controversial judgment banning abortions in case of fetal defects in the Journal of Laws. In October last year, the Polish constitutional court had ruled that abortions in the case of fetal defects are unconstitutional. The ruling courted widespread criticism and protests from women’s rights groups and other progressive sections who denounced the judgement as a declaration of war on women.

The widespread protests and international outcry forced the conservative Law & Justice (PiS) party-led government to halt the implementation of abortion ban for a few months. The government has tried to suppress the protests against the ban with the use of police force and intimidation by right-wing groups.

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Strajk.eu portal reported that on Wednesday, thousands of people protested in front of the seat of the Constitutional Tribunal on Szucha Street in Warsaw. According to reports, right-wing fringe groups also organized in front of churches in the city to counter the protests.

Ruptly reported National Women’s Strike leader Klementyna Suchanow saying on Wednesday, “If we have talked about ‘women’s hell’ until now, we will have to talk about ‘government’s hell’ now on. We’ll put you in hell. We will not forgive you this. Today is January 27. Let’s remember this date because it may be important.”

Meanwhile, the left-wing party Razem has called on all Polish citizens to support its parliamentary initiative to decriminalize abortion. Regarding the abortion ban, Razem MP Maciej Konieczny said, “torture against pregnant women has just been legalized in Poland. Millions of citizens of this country have been condemned to live in fear. Every pregnancy, whether wanted or unwanted, will be a threat. It’s about women and their lives, not judges or entrepreneurs or covering anything up.”

Published at peoplesdispatch.org