The Poland’s administration issued a constitutional court on Thursday banning nearly all abortions in the country. So, the move sparked a violent reaction from activists and sparked massive protests in Poland by nearly 38 million people.
Poland already has some of the strictest abortion laws in Europe. Only allow the procedure can use in cases of rape or incest. When the mother’s life is in danger, or when the baby has severe birth defects. The law, which came into effect Thursday, removes the latest provision prohibiting abortion of even severely deformed fetuses in Poland.
Human rights groups are calling for the law to tighten. Resulting in a ban on outright abortion, and street outrage over the act is internal.
In Warsaw on Wednesday people took to the streets with burning torches and rainbow flags and waving banners reading. These are “This means war”, “I think I feel, I decide” and “Hell for women”.
Protesters marched from the Constitutional Court to the headquarters of the ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS), for stricter laws. Protests also took place in other Polish cities, including Lodz and Szczecin, although gatherings were banned because of the pandemic.
On Thursday, as protests continued across the country, but the Polish Ministry of Health issued a special warning that demonstrations pose a risk of spreading the coronavirus.
When was its ruled out?
Last October, the country’s constitutional court ruled that abortion of severely disabled fetuses was “incompatible” with Poland’s constitution after more than 100 PiS legislators called for changes in the law. The PiS party is closely related to the Catholic Church in Poland. The bishops previously called for a total abortion ban and praised the court’s decision.
On Wednesday, the government officially declared changes to the law legal. That pulled tens of thousands of people onto the streets. However, the law took effect on Thursday.
“We took to the streets very spontaneously because the anti-abortion law was issued late at night. So we had very little time to prepare and massive protests in Poland were only organized in a few places,” activist Alexandra Musil told media on Thursday. “Today they are all over the country. I’m setting them up in my city.”
The liberal mayor of Warsaw, Rafal Trzaskowski, accused the government in a Facebook post of deliberately harming the country because of publishing “sham court rulings against the majority of women and Polish Poland”.
“It’s not only women who have taken to the streets, the entire nation is fed up,” said the former presidential candidate who nearly lost his vote in July 2020.
“No law-abiding government should abide by this sentence,” said Borys Budka, chairman of Poland’s biggest opposition Civic Platform, Wednesday.
The initial demonstration held on Wednesday night by the Strajk Kobiet (women’s strike) movement and women’s rights activist Martha Lempart, who urge Poles to “vent their anger in any way possible today”.
The group’s Facebook page reveals that new protests are planning across the country until at least the end of the month.
Official numbers show that there have fewer than 2,000 abortion cases per year in Poland in last years. However, women’s organizations estimate that around 200,000 Polish women end their pregnancies illegally or go abroad to do so annually.
Activists fear that stricter restrictions will force more women to have potentially dangerous illegal abortions or force them to travel abroad for the procedure.