2020 is indeed a year of protests. Thailand, Hongkong, India, Pakistan, USA. Indonesia, and many other nations are experiencing waves of protests. One such protest is also taking place in Warsaw, Poland. On Friday, thousands of protestors took to the streets to challenge the decision of the court to ban nearly all abortions. It resulted to be one of the biggest protests that the country saw after decades since the fall of communism in 1989. The protests that are taking place in Poland are non-violent in nature. Protestors have been creative with their actions and activities related to the protests. The red lightning image has become the symbol of protests. Slogans like “Revolution is Female”, “I think, I feel, I decide”, and “My Body, My Choice” were raised at the protests.
According to the New York Times, about 430,000 people participated in the protests and there were about 400 demonstrations in Poland. The protest is mainly against the ruling law and justice party that has effectively abolished legal abortion without a parliamentary bill debate or public consultation. According to Pawel Jablonski (Deputy Foreign Minister), “there is no human right to abortion in the international law and this is simply unacceptable.” Not just the government, people have also challenged the authority of the Church for the first time. The governor defends the traditional catholic values and acts as a representative of the Church. Now people are questioning the Church practices and the country is expected to see a total turnover of its existing conventional system.
Why Poland’s ruling on Abortion Matters?
Even before the court decision, the ban on abortion was one of the main agendas of the ruling party in Poland. Abortions were only permitted in Poland fetal abnormality, rape, incest, or to protest the mother’s life. Doctors could also refuse to perform legal abortions sometimes on religious grounds or moral ethics like “right to life”. Due to this, many women fled to other countries to have terminations abroad or risked to have abortions on illegal grounds.
According to the Sky News, in October 2020, Poland’s top court ruled abortion on the basis of a fetal abnormality is unconstitutional. Some people believe that this is “nearly” a total ban because the majority of legal abortions performed in Poland are due to fetal abnormalities. Many women believe that this decision is against women’s rights because they would not be able to terminate pregnancies that could threaten their lives or result in abnormal births.
It is yet to see whether the government will back down over the issue of the abortion ban. However, the point on which we all should ponder is that this law simply undermines the lives and choices of women. This new decision implies the fact that women are barely baby producing machines and they do not have any choice but to listen to the Church or the government.