Women in Poland Protest as Politicians Use Pandemic to Ban Abortion

Women in Poland are defying a ban on public gatherings to protest new laws that would restrict abortion and sex education in schools.

Images and videos show women in Warsaw and Poznan this week standing six feet apart with signs opposing the conservative Parliament’s plans on denying women their reproductive rights.

Currently, abortion in Poland is allowed for women whose pregnancies are high risk, putting them in danger, as well as for cases of rape, incest and for fetuses with abnormalities.

The new law would prevent termination for fetuses that are sick or deformed, which are currently 98% of abortions performed in the country. The other law up for debate would criminalize promoting underage sex, which women’s groups say bans sex education in schools. Anyone found to be promoting underage sex to would face a maximum of three years in prison.

Senior Women’s Rights Researcher Hillary Margolis commented on Parliament’s priorities. “The Polish government’s focus during the pandemic should be to protect people’s health and rights, not diminish them.”

While the proposed bills were made possible through the signatures of 100,000 citizens, an online petition gained 700,000 signatures opposing the bills and using the hashtag #ProtestAtHome.

The Realist Woman’s take:

It's a pretty slimy move on the part of this government to try to push these bills through knowing the public pushback is prevented through the mandated stay-at-home orders.

Unfortunately, they are not the only government to use this pandemic as an excuse to restrict reproductive rights. Seven states here in the U.S. are using the same anti-choice tactics. 

It’s wrong. The excuse of politicians and officials behind it all say abortion isn’t an essential medical procedure. Whatever your beliefs are on this issue, abortion is under the umbrella of women’s healthcare, and women’s healthcare will always be essential, even during a pandemic. 

They are defying stay-at-home orders to fight back