Protests In Poland

Protests break out after the Polish government tightens restrictions on abortions


Wikimedia Commons

Following the country’s constitutional tribunal that promised to ban abortions, even in the case of fetal defects, thousands of protesters in Kraków Poland gathered to voice their opinions.

Elaine Thimyan, Reporter

With everything going on in the United States, it’s been hard to pay attention to anywhere else. So in the midst of a heavily anticipated election here in the US, thousands of people in Poland have been protesting in the streets for about a week in places like Warsaw, Wroclaw, and Krakow. 

The protests came after the country’s constitutional tribunal promised to ban abortions, even in the case of fetal defects. Poland has already some of the strictest abortion bans in Europe. Even in Poland’s small amount of abortions, 98% are performed in the case of if the fetus will come to have defects. And now the only reason a woman could have an abortion is in cases of rape, incest.

The official numbers of recorded legal abortion in Poland are around 2,000 but many experts expect that the real number is around 100,000-150,000, which are conducted illegally or in neighboring countries where it is legal. And the ruling would raise the cost of the operation meaning lower-class women looking for abortion might have to look to cheaper, more dangerous ways of getting an abortion. 

Many have criticized the Law of Justice party (PiS) has been undermining democracy. Like packing the tribunal with partisans who rule in favor of its political programs 

Martha Lempert, who is part of the Women’s Strike, a movement focused on abortion rights said, “It’s PiS trying to score points with the far right.” 

And while it may seem like a small movement, percentage numbers show that most Poles don’t agree with the ban. 

But since the protest, Poland’s prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki said he would talk with protesters and the aligned president of PiS consider altering the proposal that would allow abortions in terms of life-threatening birth defects. So the protests are in fact working, especially since 100,000 people went and protested on a Friday night chanting pro-choice and anti-PiS slogans.  

As the protests go on for reproductive rights for thousands of women across Poland, the world is watching to see what kind of precedent they’ll set for other countries.