Polands total abortion ban – thousands of women go on strike

Polands total abortion ban proposal roused thousands of Polish women to take to the streets in protest this week.

The “Black Monday” protesters wore black and waved black flags.

Along with many men,they boycotted jobs and classes as part of a nationwide strike.

The mainly Catholic country already has one of Europe’s most restrictive abortion laws.

Opinion surveys show little support for an even stricter law.

This is despite the nation’s deep Catholicism and conservative political direction.

Those who support abortion rights hailed the huge show of anger as a big success.

Some said they hope it could weaken Poland’s right-wing ruling party, Law and Justice.

The party has courted controversy during its nearly one year in power.

It has weakened the judiciary and pushed a Catholic worldview.

This has alienated secular Poles and liberals.

“I am very happy. This is the beginning of something,” said one of the protesters in Warsaw, Elzbieta Turczynska.

“I treat it as the end of some era, hopefully a very short one, but a really dangerous one for us.”

Protesters rallied in other European cities in a show of solidarity.

These included Brussels, where there was a picket in front of the European Union offices with banners reading “No to the abortion ban.”

Women wore black in a sign of mourning for the feared loss of reproductive rights and for the deaths that they feel some women would face.

Under the existing law, abortion is banned except in cases where the woman’s life is in danger, the fetus is irreparably damaged or the pregnancy results from rape or incest.

The new proposal, now being examined by a parliamentary commission, would make all abortions illegal.

This would apply even in cases of rape or when the woman’s life is at risk.

Prison terms of up to five years for women seeking abortion and doctors who perform them are suggested.

The proposal for the stricter law came from an anti-abortion citizens’ initiative.

It gathered 450,000 signatures from Poland’s 38 million citizens.

The church supports the ban.

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News category: World.

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