How Europeans Are Protesting Their Countries’ Harsh Anti-Abortion Laws

By Mary McGill; photos by Jake Lewis
September 26, 2016

It's 4 PM on an overcast Saturday afternoon, and I'm standing with about 200 protesters outside the Polish embassy in London. Most are dressed in black, symbolizing a "Black Protest" of mourning at the recent rollback on women's reproductive rights in Poland. The day before, the so-called No Abortion Law passed a key vote in Poland's parliament. If it is enacted, it will reverse the country's already restrictive abortion laws, making terminations illegal in almost all circumstances.

"We're mourning at the moment now in Poland," activist Paulina "Poli" Palian tells me. "This law is not only about abortion. The government and church want to take away the little sex education we have in schools. Morning after pill is going to be gone. It was already hell to get it. Now it will be abolished. No abortion for rape victims. No prenatal care. Women looking for abortions and those helping them could go to jail. This applies to women who have abortions outside Poland, too."

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