Turning Polish Society Upside Down
9 November 2020
The Polish Constitutional Court’s judgment on legal abortion has brought both women and young people onto the streets. Unleashing dormant energy, the protests have also initiated a discussion about the position of women and youth in Polish society.
As with Mikhail Bulgakov, the inevitable has already happened, Anushka has already spilt the oil, according to one of the already famous protest slogans. Only not everyone has realised it yet.
Marta Bucholc, Maciej Komornik
6 November 2020
The abortion ruling of Poland’s politically servile Constitutional Tribunal was a debt repaid to Law and Justice’s rightwing Catholic constituency after its re-election last year. The reaction has been the biggest wave of demonstrations in the country since 1989. But the protest movement may be less of a threat to the government than conflicts within the rightwing alliance itself.
On 22 October 2020, the Constitutional Tribunal of Poland ruled abortion on the grounds of foetal abnormality to be unconstitutional. This effectively eliminated the possibility for legal abortion. Of the 1110 pregnancies legally terminated in Poland in 2019, a very small number in any case, 97% were because of foetal abnormalities. Should the ruling take effect, it would mean that abortion will only be permitted if a pregnancy is a result of a crime (such as rape or incest), or if it poses a danger to the pregnant woman’s life or health. The doctors and other people soliciting or assisting the termination of a pregnancy for foetal abnormalities would be criminally liable.
“Support for women came thick and fast both domestically and further afield, with opposition to the judgement coming from groups not typically associated with women’s rights, such as farmers and miners.” European Studies graduate Charlotte Killeen outlines the national and Europe-wide reactions to Poland’s near-total ban on abortion.
Thu 5 Nov 2020
Protests have taken place in cities and towns across Poland following a ruling by the country’s Constitutional Tribunal that allowing abortion in cases of foetal abnormalities is unconstitutional.
Even before the ruling, Poland’s policy of allowing abortion only in cases of rape or incest, threat to the life or health of the woman and foetal abnormalities was one of the most restrictive in the EU, with only Malta’s total ban going further. It is the latest setback for the women’s rights movement in Poland, coming on the heels of a government announcement in July that it intends to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence.
Citizen initiatives on abortion and sex education debated in Parliament
Two citizen initiatives, on abortion and sex education were debated in Parliament on Wednesday. Both were submitted by conservative pro-life and pro-family groups and both attracted the statutory number of signatures (100,000) needed for such initaitives to be debated. The proposals are supported by the Catholic Church.
Similar proposals in the past have led to sizable street protests. However, the current Coronavirus restrictions on public assembly have led to the protests being conducted online, in cars and from balconies of apartments.
How to Make Abortion Great Again
Poland has one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the European Union, and in practice, it's all but banned. But four women, nicknamed the "Abortion Dream Team," are pushing back, holding workshops around the country teaching women how to obtain and self-manage a medical abortion. With Roe v. Wade at risk of being overturned in the U.S., is their story a cautionary tale, or a possible roadmap for American women?
By Anna Louie Sussman
Nov 4, 2019
On a rainy day in May, in the Polish coastal city of Gdańsk, in a high-ceilinged room on the second floor of an unremarkable building, 16 women and five men sat in mismatched office chairs around a long table, waiting to learn how to administer a medical abortion. Before the workshop began in earnest, one of the speakers, Karolina Więckiewicz, turned to a bald, bearded man on her left, whose papers spread out in front of him suggested he might be from a prosecutor’s office, and asked him to stop recording.
Poland has some of the strictest abortion laws. This German NGO has a solution
Group members offer up their couches, help with translating and accompany the women to hospital, writes Dylan Brethour
Sep 8, 2019
Across the globe, the rise of right-wing parties has stirred up the fight over abortion.
In Poland, which has some of the most restrictive laws in Europe, women can only get an abortion in cases of rape or incest, when the pregnancy poses a serious threat to a woman’s health, or when there is a severe foetal abnormality.
Published on Monday, September 26, 2016
by Common Dreams
Poland's right-wing parliament moved forward with legislation that would sentence women and doctors to years in prison for terminating a pregnancy
by Nika Knight, staff writer
Poland's ruling right-wing party on Friday pushed forward with a nearly complete ban on abortion, and women around the country and in cities across Europe rose up this weekend to condemn the legislation.
The new anti-abortion bill "proposes to permit abortion only if the pregnancy threatens the mother's life," according to the Telegraph, forcing victims of rape or incest to carry those pregnancies to term. "Women who have terminations could be jailed for between three months and five years, while practitioners of illegal abortions could also face five-year sentences, up from two years at present," the newspaper adds.
And because doctors are threatened with prison sentences for performing abortions, they will be reluctant to perform abortions even when the mother's life is indeed threatened, as a doctor argued before parliament earlier this year: "If I have a 32-week pregnant patient with pre-eclampsia, I have to wait for her and her child to start dying before I can take action," explained Professor Romuald Dębski, who is quoted by Amnesty International.
"If there is an ectopic pregnancy and bleeding, I can perform a termination. But if there is no bleeding—no immediate risk to life—I have to wait until she starts dying," Dębski said.
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Source: Common Dreams