In Poland, I Saw What a Second Trump Term Could Do to America

by Michelle Goldberg
Photographs by Rafal Milach
Feb. 6, 2024

Adam Bodnar, Poland’s new justice minister, recently explained to me the immense challenge of rebuilding liberal democracy in his country after an eight-year slide toward authoritarianism. Imagine, he said, that Donald Trump had won the last election and been in power for two terms instead of one. “What would be the damage?” he asked.

After only four years of Trump, President Biden inherited a furiously divided nation, its courts seeded with right-wing apparatchiks and the nature of reality itself in deep dispute. But as even MAGA die-hards will acknowledge, Trump often failed to bend the state to his will, which is why his allies have a plan to do things differently next time, purging civil servants and replacing them with loyalists. Poland is a country that has just gone through something like what Trumpists hope to impose on us in a second term. Its institutions have been hollowed out. Many experienced technocrats and neutral judges have been replaced by lackeys and ideologues.


Abortion and authoritarianism: Why women’s freedom threatens male supremacy

The notion that men are superior to women is the root of all human inequality. That's why we must fight it

OCTOBER 23, 2022

Will America's future be one of democracy and women's control over their own bodies or one of authoritarianism and forced pregnancy? The two issues most motivating Americans to vote for Democrats in the rapidly approaching midterm elections are far more intertwined than is generally recognized.

At a time when right-wing extremists are hellbent on making American states — or, as many intend the whole nation — into the fictional Republic of Gilead, it is appropriate to turn to Margaret Atwood. "Tyrants and dictators like Adolf Hitler and Nicolae Ceausescu have often dictated the terms of fertility and criminalized those who did not comply," she pointed out in 2017. "It's no accident that Napoleon banned abortion. He said exactly what he wanted offspring for — cannon fodder. Lovely!"


There’s a new surveillance state – and women are the target

Period tracking apps, car licence plate data and pregnancy registers are the latest tools experts warn are being harnessed to monitor women

7 October 2022

Surveillance data and technology are being exploited to stoke fear and prevent abortions in countries including the United States, China, Hungary and Poland.

Period tracking apps, car licence plate data and pregnancy registers are the latest tools activists warn are being harnessed to stop women using legal or geographic loopholes for terminations. All four countries have reversed abortion rights over the past two years.


Hungarians protest change in abortion rules

September 28, 2022

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - More than 1,000 Hungarians protested on Wednesday against a change in abortion rules that took effect on Sept. 15, which women's rights groups say would "humiliate" and torment women while having no effect on the number of abortions.

Under the rules amended by Conservative Prime Minister Viktor Orban's government, pregnant women must submit evidence from their healthcare provider of a definitive sign of life, widely interpreted as the heartbeat of a foetus, before requesting the procedure.


Hungarian women dismayed at ‘tormenting’ abortion reform

By Krisztina Fenyo, Reuters
September 15, 2022

BUDAPEST - Hungarian women voiced dismay as an amendment to abortion rules took effect on Thursday in what some see as a first step towards a tightening of access to the procedure under a deeply conservative government.

Interior Minister Sandor Pinter submitted an amendment to abortion rules this week requiring pregnant women to submit evidence from their healthcare provider of a definitive sign of life, widely interpreted as the heartbeat of a foetus, before requesting the procedure.


Hungary tightens abortion access with listen to ‘foetal heartbeat’ rule

Fears move will pave way for more restrictions in country where terminations are widely accepted

Weronika Strzyżyńska
Tue 13 Sep 2022

Hungarian women seeking an abortion will be obliged to “listen to the foetal heartbeat” before they can access the procedure, according to a new decree issued by the government of the far-right prime minister, Viktor Orbán.

The new regulation is due to come into force on Thursday.


The network of organisations seeking to influence abortion policy across Europe

The ultra-Christian, anti-abortion and far-right network is allegedly seeking to replicate anti-choice efforts in the US

Angela Giuffrida in Rome and Flora Garamvolgyi
Thu 26 May 2022

A network of ultra-Christian, anti-abortion and far-right organisations is building momentum in its quest to influence abortion policy in Europe as the US supreme court considers striking down Roe v Wade, the 1973 ruling that legalised the procedure in America.

Elements of the network originally came together under the name Agenda Europe, holding yearly summits across the continent between 2013 until at least 2018, by which time it had grown to comprise 300 participants, including politicians and Vatican diplomats.


Activists Fear Abortion at Risk in Hungary From Orban’s Family-First Crusade

Reproductive rights are in the sights of Fidesz as the government ramps up its conservative rhetoric, drawing parallels with Poland’s latest attempt to limit abortion.

Edward Szekeres, Budapest BIRN
November 19, 2020

In late October, the rights of Hungarian women were suddenly in the spotlight when the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban co-sponsored an anti-abortion declaration drenched in ‘pro-family’ language and conservative purple prose. Dubbed the Geneva Consensus Declaration, the thrust of the two-page document was a non-binding yet clear denial of the international right to abortion under the guise of promoting women’s health, observers pointed out.

The sponsoring of the declaration comes amid a string of constitutional
changes that is smothering Hungary in a blanket of traditionalist and
conservative ideology, keeping local women’s rights activists on their toes as
concerns grow over the intentions of the ruling Fidesz party and its official
coalition partner, the Christian Democratic People’s Party, towards the
country’s abortion laws.


When will conservatives learn that banning abortion does little to address demographic decline?

October 3, 2020
Milana Nikolova

A new Slovak bill limiting access to abortion – proposed by the populist OĽaNO (Ordinary People) party MP Anna Záborská – adds to a heap of similar laws that have been proposed throughout the emerging Europe region in recent years. The bill was brought before the Slovak parliament on Tuesday, but despite a heated debate that continued until late in the evening, a final decision could not be reached and a formal vote on its adoption was postponed: for now.

The draft bill proposes doubling the amount of time a patient should wait between requesting and receiving an abortion, increasing the amount of personal data collected about the patient, and requiring a compulsory second medical opinion, along with other measures designed to make getting an abortion more difficult.


USA – Red States Are Exploiting Coronavirus to Ban Abortion

Red States Are Exploiting Coronavirus to Ban Abortion
For autocrats everywhere, the crisis is a chance to restrict rights.

By Michelle Goldberg, Opinion Columnist
April 6, 2020

Last week, a 24-year-old woman living in Arlington, Texas, filed a court declaration describing what she’s gone through since the governor, Greg Abbott, used the coronavirus crisis as a pretext to essentially ban abortions.

A college student studying to be a teacher, she’d lost her part-time waitressing job at around the same time she found out she was pregnant. She knew without question that she wanted an abortion, but even before Abbott signed the executive order that temporarily outlawed the procedure in the state, she had a hard time finding a clinic that could see her.