Tens of thousands of women in Poland have taken to the streets for the last week to protest a court ruling which bans abortions for fetuses with abnormalities. Terminations for fetuses that were sick or deformed accounted for 98% of abortions performed in the country. The ruling from Poland’s constitutional court makes all abortion illegal except in cases of rape, incest, or if a woman’s life is at risk.
Those opposing the ruling say this law puts women’s lives at risk as they would be forced to carry nonviable pregnancies. Currently, there are 2,000 legal abortions performed in the country but women’s groups estimate that up to 200,000 abortions are performed illegally and abroad.
If the ruling is published in Poland’s Journal of Laws, it will become law. This past spring, at the beginning of the pandemic, women protested publicly at the news of Parliament’s plan to restrict abortion. The ruling has moved women to walk off their jobs and strike, participate in demonstrations and sit-ins at cathedrals and block traffic on their march to Parliament.
Protestors have had to face being tear-gassed by police, two protestors were, what witnesses say, deliberately hit by a car and others have been beaten by nationalists. And all of this is happening amidst the country’s largest coronavirus outbreak since the pandemic began.
The Realist Woman’s take:
To not have autonomy over your own body is dehumanizing and is something the patriarchy will never understand. Thousands of women, and men thank God, are protesting this ruling in the middle of a pandemic. They are risking their lives to fight for the reproductive rights of women.
This news is what women in the U.S. fear with the confirmation of now-Supreme Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett. We know women like her can certainly be complicit in the slashing of women’s reproductive rights. The women in Poland are defacing property, disrupting their work lives, halting traffic, and doing whatever they can to make noise because this ruling is not something they can accept. And I don’t blame them.
If the constitutional court in Poland were really on the side of life, they would guarantee women the right to choose. Women’s lives are in danger when they have to resort to seeking out unsafe abortion practices. This issue is never about life. It’s always about controlling women’s bodies and perverting religion as their justification.