Tuesday, October 4, 2016
BBC (Oct. 3, 2016): Black Monday: Polish Women Strike Against Abortion Ban,
Yesterday, thousands of Polish women went on strike to challenge a proposed law that would ban and criminalize all abortions. Poland already has one of the strictest abortion laws in Europe, only permitting abortions when a woman's life is in danger, when the pregnancy is a result of rape or when the fetus has a serious and irreversible condition. Women marched in the streets wearing black to mourn the loss of their reproductive rights.
In addition to protests in Warsaw, Polish women also marched in Gdansk, Lodz, Wroclaw and Krakow. Demonstrations of solidarity took place in other European cities including Berlin, Brussels, Dusseldorf, Belfast, London and Paris.
The proposed law would criminalize women for having abortions and doctors who perform them. Women could face criminal sentences of up to five years. In addition to prohibiting the termination of pregnancies when they endanger women's health or result from rape, the law poses the danger of investigation and criminal prosecution of women who suffer miscarriages. The law also would impose risks on doctors that may make them unwilling to perform prenatal tests or perform procedures necessary for women's health and lives.
Recent polls say that only 11% of Poles favor the proposed legislation. Currently, there are 1,000-2,000 legal terminations a year, but illegal abortions in Poland are estimated to be 10,000-150,000 a year.