Poland’s Law and Justice party in 2015 took the decision to illegitimate the existing abortion laws and protestors in Poland have taken to the streets to protest the move. Let’s take an in-depth look into it.
Crux of the Matter
Poland’s Law and Justice party in 2015 decided to illegitimate the existing abortion law, which has been in the country for about 30 years and the Poland feminists have taken to the streets to protest the move. Have a look at the infographic below to understand the law which has been in place for 30 years.
Other Propositions In The New Legislation
- Imprison women who choose to have an abortion.
- Imprison the doctors who perform an abortion.
- Investigate miscarriages.
Protest Against The PiS Party
The decision of the constitutional court to rule that “abortion due to fetal defects was unconstitutional” was taken on 22nd October 2015. If the law is implemented, women in Poland will be able to legally terminate pregnancy only in case of rape or a threat to their health. However, about 98% of abortion in Poland happens due to fetal abnormality.
On 28th November 2015, Poland’s feminist organization Strajk Kobiet (Women’s Strike) staged a protest in downtown Warsaw. To attract attention to the decision of Poland’s Constitutional Court to criminalise abortions. The date also commemorated the 102nd anniversary of women’s suffrage in the country.
“Even pregnancies …when a child is sure to die… [should] end with the mother giving birth so the child can be baptized, buried, and have a name.”Jaroslaw Kaczynski, Law and Justice Party Leader, October 2016
On 14th December 2020, hundreds of people gathered again in Warsaw at an anti-government protest. It was set to coincide with the 39th anniversary of the 1981 martial law crackdown by Poland’s then Communist regime.
Reactions and Protests
Many accused the government of looking more like the authoritarian regime of the communist era. The march was held under the slogan: ”We are going for freedom. We are going for everything!”. The movement is represented by the symbol of the Women’s Strike: a lightning bolt.
Protesters, including feminist communities, LGBTQ members, were seen chanting- “My body – my business!”, “Legal abortion!” and other slogans criticizing Poland’s governing right-wing Law and Justice Party that initiated the court’s consideration of the issue
What is the Martial Law?
The Martial law refers to the period between 13 December 1981 and 22 July 1983, when the authoritarian communist government of the Polish People’s Republic restricted everyday life by introducing martial law and a military junta in an attempt to throttle political opposition, in particular the Solidarity Movement.
The Women’s Suffrage Movement
Poland was among the first nations to grant women legal rights. Women’s suffrage was delivered in 1918 after the country regained independence that year. After Martial Law in Poland, first publications discussing feminist ideas appeared in the public sphere, sometimes considered as the cover for the actual social situation.
Read about other recent protests in India and across the globe here:
- The word Poland is derived from ‘Polska’ which originates from the name of the tribe Polanie, which means “people living in open fields”
- According to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, if the pregnancy is under 20 weeks, abortion is allowed in India. However, it is subject to several conditions, and your ability to get an abortion will depend on the opinion of the doctor.
- Pro-life movements are involved in the abortion debate advocating against the practice of abortion and its legality. Many anti-abortion movements began as countermovements in response to the legalization of elective abortions.