Poland’s abortion protests—democratic standards at stake

The passion behind the demonstrations signifies a battle for basic democratic standards in a world of creeping authoritarian temptations.

by Maria Skóra
30th October 2020

On October 22nd, the Constitutional Court in Poland made an unprecedented decision, declaring abortion due to foetal defects unconstitutional. Because around 90 per cent of all legal abortions in the country are performed on this criterion, upon entering into force this ruling will in practice drastically limit access to safe termination of pregnancy. It stands in opposition to medical science and to the will of the majority of the population, which—according to the polls—supports the existing abortion regime, already one of the strictest in Europe.

This battle started as early as 2016, with ‘pro-life’ associations lobbying the parliament for an amendment to the law. They failed then but the change has now effectively been introduced by the Constitutional Court. The new status quo is not only controversial on its merits but also because the court’s judicial neutrality, vis-à-vis the governing Law and Justice Party (PiS), has long been questioned.

Continued: https://www.socialeurope.eu/polands-abortion-protests-democratic-standards-at-stake


Polish hospitals begin turning away women seeking abortions

Institutions appear to enforce controversial ban despite legislation not yet taking effect

Hannah Summers
Fri 30 Oct 2020

Hospitals in Poland have been turning away women seeking abortions even though a court ruling that has instituted a near-total ban on terminations has not yet taken effect.

The ban, which outlaws one of the three narrow exceptions under which abortion is still permitted – that of severe foetal defects – has sparked huge protests in Poland.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/oct/30/polish-hospitals-begin-turning-away-women-seeking-abortions


Pro-choice supporters hold biggest-ever protest against Polish government

About 100,00o people take to the streets of Warsaw to oppose tightened abortion law

Christian Davies in Warsaw
Fri 30 Oct 2020

About one hundred thousand protesters took to the streets of the Polish capital, Warsaw, on Friday, in the largest demonstration of popular anger directed against Poland’s ruling rightwing Law and Justice party (PiS) since it assumed office in 2015.

Protests have been held across the country since Poland’s constitutional tribunal declared earlier this month that abortions in instances where a foetus is diagnosed with a serious and irreversible birth defect were unconstitutional. Such procedures constitute about 96% of legal abortions in Poland, which already has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/oct/30/pro-choice-supporters-hold-biggest-ever-protest-against-polish-government


Women Converge on Warsaw, Heightening Poland’s Largest Protests in Decades

Outraged by a court decision to ban nearly all abortions, tens of thousands of women took to the streets of Poland’s capital on Friday, culminating a week of big protests across the country.

By Anatol Magdziarz and Marc Santora
Oct. 30, 2020

WARSAW — Ignoring the threat of prosecution and the dangers posed by a surge of coronavirus cases, tens of thousands of women outraged by a court decision to ban nearly all abortions in Poland converged in Warsaw on Friday, intensifying what have been the largest demonstrations in the country since the fall of communism in 1989.

With a musical medley that included Darth Vader’s theme from Star Wars, in a poke at the government, and techno music blaring over loudspeakers, crowds of women flooded the streets of the capital. Many of the women had the red lightning bolt that has become the iconic image of the movement emblazoned on their clothes, as the police and military security officers flanked them as they marched.

Continued: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/30/world/europe/poland-abortion-women-protests.html


Women who require late-term abortions are being demonised in Australia – again

As South Australia debates a bill to decriminalise abortion, the same misinformation is being peddled

Gina Rushton
Thu 29 Oct 2020

It wouldn’t be a debate about abortion without a flagrant misinformation campaign about terminations after the first trimester.

A bill to decriminalise abortion was this month introduced in South Australia, the last jurisdiction to do so, and opponents of the legislation have already set about claiming if passed it would legalise and in fact encourage “abortion up to birth”, an offensive but ultimately meaningless phrase. It has been the relentless catchphrase of anti-abortion lobbyists, religious leaders and conservative politicians in every single push to modernise abortion laws in this country but it is not uniquely Australian.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/oct/29/women-who-require-late-term-abortions-are-being-demonised-in-australia-again


Women’s Strike presents plan for Friday abortion protest

The movement's Klementyna Suchanow warned that demonstrators could be exposed to provocateurs, and advised to report any acts of aggression.

OCTOBER 29, 2020

The Women's Strike movement has presented plans for a mass demonstration on Friday against a recent court ruling that could lead to a near-total ban on abortion.

Last Thursday Poland's constitutional court ruled that a 1993 law permitting abortion when there is severe damage to the foetus was unconstitutional. The verdict sparked mass protests which are continuing throughout the country.

Continued: https://www.thefirstnews.com/article/womens-strike-presents-plan-for-friday-abortion-protest-17170


Poland: Authorities must protect peaceful protests against abortion restrictions

29 October 2020
Amnesty International

People protesting peacefully against the new restrictions on abortion in Poland have faced excessive use of force by police officers, and have been arbitrarily detained without access to lawyers in the last few days. Ahead of large protests expected tomorrow, Draginja Nadazdin, Director of Amnesty International Poland, said:

“The massive wave of support for women in Poland is a sign that the government and the authorities cannot simply continue to violate women’s rights without opposition. Women in Poland are living under one of the strictest regimes in Europe in terms of access to abortion. Their right to protest against these restrictions must be upheld. The police must facilitate those wishing to protest peacefully in support of women, including by safeguarding protesters against harassment and violent attacks by counter-demonstrators.”

Continued: https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2020/10/poland-authorities-must-protect-peaceful-protests-against-abortion-restrictions/


Abortion-ban measure is one of Colorado’s two most expensive ballot questions and the outcome is too close to call

The campaigns for and against Proposition 115 are focusing on “misinformation” and undecided voters in the final days before the election

Oct 29, 2020
Jennifer Brown

Opponents of a ballot measure that would ban abortion in Colorado after 22 weeks of pregnancy, except in cases where the mother’s life is at risk, have raised $8.7 million — about 14 times as much as the groups pushing the initiative.

And leading up to Election Day, the limited polling data available suggests Proposition 115 is too close to call.

Continued: https://coloradosun.com/2020/10/29/abortion-ban-measure-2nd-most-expensive/


From the Global Gag Rule to the Geneva Consensus, women’s bodies bear the brunt

The U.S. continues to attack the reproductive rights of women globally, resulting in unintended pregnancies and unsafe abortions

by Banchiamlack Dessalegn | Marie Stopes International
Thursday, 29 October 2020

With the U.S. presidential elections just days away, it is hard to miss the growing efforts of the Trump administration to roll back reproductive rights. From the expanded Global Gag Rule, to Amy Coney Barrett’s supreme court confirmation and last week’s Geneva Consensus Declaration, with the U.S. administration asking countries to sign “that there is no international right to abortion”, the fight for reproductive rights and gender equality is far from over. 

At MSI, as a global provider of contraception, safe abortion and post-abortion care, we have seen the consequences of these efforts first-hand, with women’s lives, health and futures put at risk.

Continued: https://news.trust.org/item/20201029173203-kwt4j


Abortion very common in Nigeria, despite legal restrictions – Group warns of implications

Published on October 29, 2020
By Joe Chukindi

The Performance Monitoring for Action group has raised alarm over the high rate of unsafe abortion in Nigeria, despite the legal restrictions around it.

The group through recent research revealed that Rivers and Anambra States top the charts with the highest number of abortions on a yearly basis.

Continued: https://dailypost.ng/2020/10/29/abortion-very-common-in-nigeria-despite-legal-restrictions-group-warns-of-implications/