Believe In The Power of Protest

You’ve probably heard about the huge protest happening in Poland for reproductive rights. Well, it worked.

You’ve probably heard about the huge protest happening in Poland for reproductive rights. Well, it worked. It was a gray and rainy day when Polish citizens went on strike from work and school to take part in a nationwide demonstration on “Black Monday.” Women wore black, carried black flags and raised black umbrellas across the country to take a stance against a proposed ban on abortion. It was a magnificent display of standing up for reproductive rights.  After the protests, government leaders are now backing away from the proposed ban.

Members of the conservative ruling party, Law and Justice, originally supported this proposal. However, it was reported that parliament voted 352-58 to reject the ban on Wednesday evening. The proposed law will be voted on again today by the lower house of Parliament. Lawmakers will either reject it entirely or send it back to a parliamentary committee for continued consideration, The Associate Press reports.

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Source: Czarek Sokolowski/AP

This ban would call for jail time up to five years for citizens having an abortion and their doctors, no matter the circumstances. There has been word from several prominent members of the right-wing Law and Justice party that this ban will not be moving forward today. The prime minister Beata Szydlo has previously expressed her support for a ban on abortion. However, she is now saying that her party “is not working” on the ban.

Poland already has some of the most restrictively abortions laws. Abortion is currently illegal except in cases of rape, incest, danger to the mother’s life or irreparable damage to the fetus. This new proposal came from a large anti-abortion group, Stop Abortion. It quickly gained over 450,000 signatures. However, with more than 38 million people living in Poland, the #CzarnyProtest garnered serious worldwide attention.

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Source: Czarek Sokolowski/AP

This ban on abortion would be an assault on reproductive rights for Polish citizens who have a uterus. It would legally criminalize those who seek a safe abortion. The health and choice over ones body should not be put in the hands of government officials. Historically, people will try to end their undesired pregnancies whether abortion is legal or not. “This often jeopardizes their safety and health by self-inducing or seeking a dangerous illegal procedure,” Our Bodies Our Selves

We are proud of the actions taken by Polish citizens to stand up for these vital and basic human rights. We hope that in the wake of this protest, government officials worldwide will take more seriously the access to healthy and safe reproductive care.