Poland’s Abortion Crisis

This article was originally published on November 29, 2020.

Recently, in Poland, there have been several protests, hate claims, and other shocking events. There is a call to action from women and adolescents to stop the hate crime for gender discrimination, LGBTQ prejudice, and the right to abortions for women who seek it. Women constantly march holding up signs that say “Strajk Kobiet”, or women’s rights, to show the movement that Poland currently faces.

Today, the women living in Poland face unemployment, a lack of equality, and a permanent economic crisis. Even over the past few decades, Central European countries have been dealing with troubles economically, and women have been the main face of it. Instead of Polish women working jobs as women do in the United States, they are mainly only able to work lower class jobs that have been pushed on them. The lack of sexual education has also been causing critical, damaging effects on the country. This leads up to the main problem that has been happening.

Women’s rights to getting an abortion have caused an uproar in the country. While the laws do permit a woman to get an abortion as a result of rape or in a situation of life or death, the laws state that other types of abortions are not allowed and it is the doctor’s choice whether or not to deny a woman’s want to get an abortion. There have been areas of other countries that have tried to take a look at giving back rights, but no difference has really been made. Yet with several tries from the European Union (EU) and other causes, Poland has also continued to ban almost all types of abortion.

Looking at both sides of the story, people can understand why these women would like to fight for rights over their bodies. On the other hand, the people who stand with the PiS base their motivations on religion. The fight for Pro-Choice vs Pro-Life has been at a long time standstill. With laws for abortion going in and out, the nation is still undecided. The current Anti-Abortion laws are based on the Catholic religion primarily in Poland. Following Catholic beliefs, abortion isn’t allowed. The Polish government put these laws into place, despite requests from the European Union.

Michal Dworczyk, the head of the prime minister’s office, wants to find a new solution or a different perspective to solving this problem. No solution is currently published, and there have been protests from the original tribunal makers of this law, called the Law and Justice Party, or the PiS. The Law and Justice Party have ruled for almost 5 years, since 2015. They have filled the places in power with people that support their ways. The PiS has and still is being accused of breaking democratic normalities during their power, but there is nothing currently that is going to get rid of their ways of government.

Similar to the Black Lives Matter movement, the uproar of protestors that oppose strict abortion restrictions caught the government, and PiS, by a surprise. The majority of the votes that happened in the country have shown that their own people do not stand by the ways that PiS rules. The prime minister of Poland has tried his best to talk more with protestors and members of the parliament (or MPs). The President of the PiS has negotiated a different solution, such as allowing abortion for life-threatening birth defects. However, they would not support more minor defects.

Over 100,000 protestors have shown up at these rallies, and there are some protestors from both sides of the scale. Protestors have destroyed churches and others have marched and chanted with signs saying “Pro-Choice” and “Anti PiS”. The fight for equality and abortion rights continues today, not only in Poland but also in the United States. The media has definitely blown up this issue, stating things like the political leaders’ views are becoming nightmares, protests rise even during COVID-19, and describing people’s own strong opinions about this crisis.

Anja Rubik, a Polish model, had some things to say about this crisis during her interview with Vogue. She mentions that the lack of education is hurting Polish children, and the things that the government is choosing to do is fear-based, instead of learning about who each of their citizens is. She states that there are some days where she feels terrified of all of the protestors. She feels scared about Poland and how her nation has become this way. She closes out the interview by saying, “We are only free when everyone is equal” (Rubik), reflecting her views on her individual rights.

As the protests continue to rise and the fight for equality continues, people from both sides of the political scale will teeter back and forth. To join in with the fight, feel free to do more of your own personal research. Everybody can help, and so can you.