Europe’s underground abortion network

When terminations are banned in Poland, Polish women buy train tickets

Feb 27th 2021
The Economist

Wander around any Polish city and the same phone number pops up on an array of unlikely surfaces. It is scrawled on bus stops and billboards. It can be daubed on the side of a church. Head online and the same number (+48 222 922 597) appears in people’s usernames. Those who dial it are put through to Kobiety w Sieci (“Women on the Net”), a group that offers women information on how to get abortions. In a country where providing terminations is now, in effect, illegal, it is a useful number to have.

In October Poland’s constitutional court struck down a law allowing abortion in cases of fetal abnormality. Of the 1,000 or so legal abortions in Poland per year before the ban, nearly all were in this category. Now, abortion is limited to cases of rape or to save a mother’s life. This fulfils a long-held dream of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party to clamp down on abortions. Activists responded by turning cities into a gonzo Yellow Pages.

Continued: https://www.economist.com/europe/2021/02/27/europes-underground-abortion-network


Poland’s Recent Abortion Ban

The PiS, the Catholic Church, and the Denial of Basic Human Rights

By Enora Lauvau
On Feb 21, 2021
The McGill International Review

Known to be a conservative Roman Catholic nation, Poland has long been home to fierce debate over abortion rights, with the two opposing sides consisting of traditionalists and those advocating a more progressive agenda. Tensions reached an all-time high last October, as the country’s Constitutional Tribunal ruled to further increase the restrictions on legal abortions. Already, Poland had some of the most stringent abortion laws in Europe, with abortion been legal in only three cases: fetal abnormalities, a direct threat to the woman’s health, and rape or incest. In a decision made on October 22, 2020, however, the court declared abortions in the case of congenital defects illegal, on the basis that the Polish Constitution protects human life. Considering that out of the mere 1,100 abortions that legally occurred in Poland last year, 98 per cent of them were for this reason, such a decision essentially ensures that those seeking abortions will either be forced to leave the country or perform them at home, both of which will put their health at risk and leave them vulnerable to legal prosecution. Already, women’s rights groups estimate that between 80,000 to 150,000 citizens get abortions outside of Poland’s health system each year.

Continued: https://www.mironline.ca/polands-recent-abortion-ban/


Poland – Part of opposition bloc backs abortion on request up to 12 weeks

(PAP) MR/JCH/MRB
FEBRUARY 15, 2021

Some members of the Civic Coalition (KO), Poland’s main opposition grouping, are in favour of abortion on request, PAP has learned.

KO member Nowoczesna has drafted a bill proposing the introduction of the so-called “German variant” allowing abortion on request up to 12 weeks of pregnancy following consultations with a doctor and psychologist.

Continued: https://www.thefirstnews.com/article/part-of-opposition-bloc-backs-abortion-on-request-up-to-12-weeks-19838


The unheard pain of abortion in Poland

By Valérie Gauriat 
Updated: 12/02/2021

In front of one of Warsaw's main hospitals, an ominous van is parked. Its sides are covered in an image of what is allegedly a dead fetus. It's a message from anti-abortion groups to one of the capital’s few facilities that still perform pregnancy terminations.

A recent ruling by the Constitutional Tribunal has just toughened one of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe. Terminations in Poland were once only allowed in cases of rape, incest, danger to the mother's health or life, serious defects of the fetus or incurable disease. The new amendments mean that last option is now prohibited.

Continued: https://www.euronews.com/2021/02/12/the-unheard-pain-of-abortion-in-poland


After Poland Issued a Near-Total Ban on Abortions, Marta Lempart Has Been on the Front Line of the Protests

BY MIRA PTACIN
February 11, 2021

It’s been called different things: the Coat Hanger Rebellion, Black Protests, Strajk Kobiet, or Women’s Strike. For half a decade, it’s continued to grow louder and stronger. Now, many are calling it a revolution: millions of Polish women, men, and children protesting the government and all-powerful Catholic Church’s continuous attempts at a near-total ban of abortion.

Over the past several years, Poland’s conservative Law and Justice Party (PiS) has introduced increasingly draconian restrictions on abortion access in the country. In 2016, a proposal was introduced that would ban nearly all abortions except those necessary to save a woman’s life. The citizens of Poland took to the streets, and the protests had a dramatic impact: The the PiS, which had previously championed the bill, voted the legislation down.

Continued: https://www.vogue.com/article/poland-abortion-marta-lempart


Women’s rights activist charged for taking part in Polish abortion protests

Marta Lempart charged with insulting a police officer among other alleged offences

Maya Oppenheim, Women’s Correspondent
Feb 11, 2021

A woman’s rights activist involved in protests against the widely criticised near-total abortion ban in Poland has been charged.

In recent months Poland has been rocked by the largest protests since the collapse of communism after the government unveiled plans to further tighten already restrictive abortion laws last October - with demonstrations erupting again last month after the court’s justification for the original ruling was enshrined into law.

Continued: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/poland-abortion-protests-marta-lempart-b1800915.html


Women’s rights activist charged for role in Polish protests

By VANESSA GERA, ASSOCIATED PRESS
FEB. 11, 2021

WARSAW, Poland —  A leader of the Polish Women’s Strike, the movement that has led mass nationwide protests against a near total abortion ban in Poland, has been charged with criminal felonies.

The U.S. State Department said it was watching the situation in the allied NATO country “very closely.”

Continued: https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/nation-world/story/2021-02-11/womens-rights-activist-charged-for-role-in-polish-protests


MEPs slam Polish abortion ban: ‘Women will suffer

By ELENA SÁNCHEZ NICOLÁS
BRUSSELS, Feb 10, 2021

MEPs have condemned the near-total ban on the right to abortion in Poland, following the entry into force of the country's Constitutional Tribunal ruling.

The highly-politicised court initially ruled last October that all abortions for severe and irreversible foetal abnormalities were unconstitutional, limiting the already very restrictive abortion law in line with Roman Catholic doctrine.

Continued: https://euobserver.com/political/150876


Poland: ‘I had an abortion’

(Video, 3:35 minutes)
10.02.2021
Deutsche Welle

Poland has one of the strictest abortion laws in Europe. An estimated 200,000 women from Poland seek abortions each year, either abroad or illegally at home. Marta Solek shares her experience with DW.

Continued: https://www.dw.com/en/poland-i-had-an-abortion/av-56525813


MEPs condemn Poland’s near-total abortion ban

Lawmakers tried to put pressure on Warsaw in parliamentary debate.

BY MAÏA DE LA BAUME
February 9, 2021

MEPs on Tuesday condemned Poland's almost total ban on abortion and called on the European Union to step up its fight against what they see as more backsliding on fundamental rights in the country.

Last month, Poland's top constitutional court published its reasoning on a verdict that tightened the country's already tough abortion laws. The verdict means abortions will be permitted only in cases of rape, incest and when a mother's life is endangered. The initial court ruling, issued in October, stated that abortions for reasons of fetal abnormality violate the constitution, which effectively banned most abortions in the country.

Continued: https://www.politico.eu/article/mep-condemn-poland-abortion-ban/