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Polish Lawmakers Move Forward With a New Abortion Ban That Critics Say Will Be ‘Hell for Women’

Polish #BlackProtest poster. Photo used with permission of author Kasia Babis.

Polish #BlackProtest poster. Photo used with permission of author Kasia Babis.

In the face of a “Black Protest” movement that has gripped the Polish Internet and several city squares throughout the country, the Polish Parliament voted in favor of moving ahead with legislation that would outlaw abortions in nearly all circumstances, introducing prison sentences for both women having the procedure and doctors who perform it. The lawmakers’ decision has already led to even more protests.

This Friday, members of parliament supported the controversial draft law's development, voting to refer it to a legislative committee for review and revisions. Lawmakers also voted to dismiss another piece of legislation that would have taken Polish reproductive rights in the opposite direction, liberalizing existing laws.

Poland's parliament is currently controlled by the rightwing Law and Justice Party, which enjoys the support of the Roman Catholic Church.

Critics of the push to restrict abortion rights even further in Poland say the new law would be “hell for women,” referring to a famous collection of essays by the Polish writer and doctor Tadeusz Boy-Żelenski, who in 1930 described the suffering endured by women in that era as a result of limits on reproductive choice.

Opponents of the new proposed abortion ban list several nightmare scenarios that would result, if the law is passed, such as forcing women who are raped to give birth to children, and even throwing criminal suspicion on mothers who miscarry naturally, raising police concerns that the miscarriage may have been deliberate. The one narrow exception that law would preserve for carrying out an abortion—instances when a mother's life is in danger—will put doctors in the dangerously awkward position of deciding when a pregnancy's threat to a mother's life is “direct enough.” Making the “wrong” decision in these cases could presumably land a physician in prison, too.

Since Thursday, Poland's “Black Protest” movement appears to be gaining momentum, which participation online continuing to grow.

The backlash against Poland's controversial legislation is no longer restricted to Poles, either. Internet users from around Europe and the United States have joined the protest movement, sharing photos and posts expressing solidarity with Poland's pro-choice demonstrators.

Kasia Babis, a Polish illustrator, published a poster in English calling people to join the “Black Protest,” depicting some of the legislation's likely consequences. At the time of this writing, the poster has more than 3,000 “likes” on Facebook and more than 1,800 “shares,” including one by noted libertarian and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.

After the vote in the parliament this weekend, the left-wing party RAZEM announced a series of “Black Protest” demonstrations against the bill in nine major Polish cities on Sunday, September 25.

Tomorrow, we won't just sit at home! #BlackProtest

At the same time, many spontaneous solidarity gatherings took place or are planned abroad, including rallies in London, New York, Vienna, and Berlin.

Facebook event: International Solidarity with the Women of Ireland and Poland
Tweet: Solidarity Rally against abortion ban in Poland and Ireland will take place in Vienna on September 29. #BlackProtest

The hashtags #czarnyprotest (“#BlackProtest,” found here on Facebook and Twitter) and #blackprotest (Facebook, Twitter) continue to serve as rallying points for dissemination of information about the protest movement.

  • jack dunster

    Poland was renown for the strength and independence of its womenfolk – a trait that made it admirable – but what has happened – why are so many subservient to a regressive church that would even deny the divorced a place in Heaven? Boycott this illiberal, fool establishment that sucks this country dry. Boycott this organization that has such a hold on the government and such a hatred for women.

  • Adi
  • Marathon-Youth

    Abortion is an issue that involves both the man and woman who created that fetus. It is not just a woman’s issue.
    In this age and time women should be able to have intimacy without getting pregnant. Technology is too advanced for that.
    But
    I do understand special cases where abortion is needed.

    • John Mulligan

      The abortion is needed when the woman carrying the child and her partner, whoever this may be, concur this is the right thing for the child; anything else is heading towards barbarianism.

  • Roberto Fiad

    A woman who doesn’t want to get pregnant has to right to not screw. She can also relocate to another country where her right to murder pip squeeks is still legally in the books.

    • Lucy S.

      Your ignorance is at the level of the sub-human.

      • Roberto Fiad

        That’s your opinion and so that’s that.

        • jack dunster

          an obvious misogynist – that is what you are, sir. Are you married? What is your wife’s opinion if so? Who is she – herself, or your chattel? The issue is also the doctor’s issue and the issue of police investigation should a woman miscarry. You, sir, seem to miss that. A woman has the right to control her body, much as you have the right to control yours.

          • Roberto Fiad

            You said it; the woman has the right to control HER body and not another’s body.

            The fetus inside the woman is not part of her body. The fetus is someone else and is not like an appendix or an organ inside the body.

            On the other hand, I do agree with you on the point that a miscarriage does not warrant a police investigation.

            As for being married or not, I am single, by choice. I like being able to do as I please with my personal time when I’m not working in the office where I am employed. As for women, they’re entitled to do as they please with their personal time as well. Moreover, they should not be pressured to have children if they wish to remain childless. However, if they want to both remain childless and demand screwing rights or privileges, they should practice contraception like birth control pills or wear protection to impede the conception of a new life. What I’m not okay with is that they would screw to their hearts’ contents and then when they get pregnant that they would snuff out the fetus. If they want to stay non-mothers and still screw, they should take the necessary precautions to preempt an unwanted pregnancy. As for misogyny, I’m not a misogynist. I don’t hate anyone. As for the Polish state deciding on forbidding abortion, it’s their country, not ours. The Polish people who oppose this measure can always vote out those legislators and have the new legislature undo this legislation. Like I said, it’s their country. The laws that they don’t like will be a project that they’ll have to work out themselves.

          • jack dunster

            actually, sir, I agree with much of what you say So therefore, i apologize to you. Actually, you see, it is my country.. Poland is where i live.. and what is going on is the chipping away for civil rights to be repalced by very fascist values

          • Roberto Fiad

            I appreciate your forwardness. You certainly appear to me to be a man of integrity. Regarding the abrogation or erosion of civil liberties, what categories of civil rights are the authorities in Poland abrogating? Freedom of the press? Freedom to petition the government? Freedom of expression?

          • jack dunster

            unfirtunately what has happened since this current government came in in a majority albeit in a very low voter turn-out has been the repositioning of public-owned video and audio media into positive mouth-pieces for the government. It is attempting to dismiss and curtail the powers of the supreme court, it has modified the hiring practices for governmental staff from merit, to loyalty to the party in power, it induges in the smearing of individuals thatthe party chairman has had personal grudges with. It rewards the party faithful – this is in effect, a return to the practices of the socialist era. What gets my goat is the destruction of primeval forest – UNESCO heritage sites for immediate profit. As well, it thumbs its nose at the European Union – the organization that has paid for the majority of improvements in Polish society and infrastructure. (n effect, the alliance of a very fat church, the call to patriotism, the fanaticism, and cult of personality smacks of fascism – and that has never been good for Poland.

          • Roberto Fiad

            Neither for Poland nor for any country on the face of the earth.

            I would not want to ever live in a society such as the one that your country is now becoming. If you’re aware of the country of Venezuela, something similar happened over there.

            I’m talking here about the issue of oil industry workers. A number of very skillful, well-qualified petroleum engineers and other oil industry experts were dismissed for being deemed disloyal to the Socialist so-called Bolivarian revolutionary government or “Republic” that the late Hugo Chavez launched and that now Nicolas Maduro rules.

            They likely left for other OPEC nations to work in. These experts and petroluem engineers were replaced by amateur or poorly skilled, unprofessional, and amateur supposed technicians who were put in charge of the Venezuelan oil industry based strictly on their loyalty to the Chavez/Maduro regime.

            The oil industry and its facilities in Venezuela, aside and beyond the world situation with oil prices, and very much on account of poor quality maintenance, is suffering much.

            This country of Venezuela, with the world’s largest and fullest oil reserves, now cannot afford to feed its people.

            Its healthcare industry is now almost nonexistent.

            Many members of the nation’s intelligentsia fled for the United States, Canada, Western Europe, other more prosperous nations in Latin America such as Chile, and probably also Asia.

            When a government takes over a country, any country, and makes political loyalty to its ruling side to be the measuring yardstick for qualification, then that government is disserving that nation it took over.

          • jack dunster

            Hi! I can remember when Venezuela was touted as a success story – a stable regime, a well-educated and happy populace. It seems that people forget – and develop a blinkered nostalgia for the greatness of a nation and the promise of honesty, values and respect for the mother/fatherland. The demogogue plays on this, setting nation against nation and begins ti enjoy power and the distribution of largesse. Once in, they are very hard to dislodge. It’s an endless cycle. In Poland, fortunately, we have our membership in the European Union as a form of protection against ourselves – but for how long? Certainly the idiotic Brexit has caused damage. One has to ask, why such people – why do the Trumps, the Chazez/Madero, the Putins triumph – well, it’s certainly a topic raised by literary authors and social historians. In all cases, like cancer, prevention and early treatment is better than later surgery.

  • Pingback: Poland bans abortion | Global Youth Transform the Future()

  • Roberto Fiad

    Moreover, I advocate the permitting of aborting a would-be babe while inside the womb of the woman carrying the new birth – exclusively under two conditions:

    One, that to proceed with the full term pregnancy and then to birth that baby would imperil the health or worse, threaten the life of the woman.

    Many women have died giving birth. I recall reading that one of the first recorded deadly births in the Book of Genesis was the childbirth death of Rachel, the wife of Jacob who had successfully and safely borne Joseph but died when giving birth to Benjamin who was successfully born.

    In a case like that, it is better to preserve the life of the mother or would-be mother than to risk her ability to survive the birth.

    I mentioned that I advocated abortion in two cases. The first has already been presented here.

    I advocate abortion in a second case as well: a baby physically and/or mentally incapable to develop into someone who can lead a normal or functional existence.

    I’m talking about someone who has major defects of health of body or mind or both and would require life-long assistance of others. Such a birth would be cruel to that new life.

    He or she could never develop into a functional adult and would be a perpetual drain on the family, society, resources, everything and everybody, and of course, self.

    I am no one to play God nor assume a role of deciding who is to live or die. I would never dare go there.

    On the other hand, I am entitled to think and reason that a human life that cannot function on own initiative, own effort would be so pathetic, so useless, so miserable that I find myself wondering if someone under circumstances like those above would or wouldn’t be better off not being allowed to come to the world.

    Aside from those two circumstances, I regard abortion as non-justifiable.

    Regarding the aborting of a would be life resulting from a violation, the rape of the woman, the taking of her against her will, her moral, I find myself wavering there but leaning on the side of not aborting.

    I would unhesitatingly recognize the mother’s absolute and inalienable right of giving up that baby for adoption, to surrender the baby to the authorities that an agency can later grant him or her to a childless couple for adoption. I understand fully that she was impregnated by force, against her will, her right to decide who would enter her person. Such a taking of a woman is not sex but a heinous crime of violence.

    Yet, at the same time, I find myself unable to bring myself to advocating the cavalier snuffing out that human life.

    I would not force under an circumstances that raped woman to rear or raise that unwanted baby. Such would also be wrong.

    • jack dunster

      Well sir, that is in effect the stand that the womanfolk in Poland are taking – as it is a difficult issue to bear with.. What you are in effect, stating is more or less, the status quo regarding Polish law in such situations.What is being removed is this choice – the act of prosecution of the doctor and potential mother in hazy situations. In effect, a lawyer, a bureaucrat, is making the decision – not the mother or doctor. As to the orphanages – thanks to the action of the EU and the activity of former governments, these have been brought up to date. But they are not now as well-funded as they should be, and, currently, a social program that has proved very destructive to the budget, of financial payment for second and third, etc.. children has brought about a boon in adoptions – but not necessarily because they are wanted, more because it is profitable.

    • Quey

      Roberto, you have raised some good points. I would definitely agree on the case of the mother dying; when the situation becomes lose one life or lose both, I think one must try to save the mother. As for the case of rape victims, I would really encourage you to read this article here: http://www.abortionfacts.com/reardon/rape-incest-and-abortion-searching-beyond-the-myths. The author makes some interesting points that are not commonly stated in mainstream media, but they do make one think and consider the actual voices and desires of such victims.

      I would be very careful about supporting abortion when a child will not be able to develop into a person with a “normal or functional” existence. I, for one, do not, partially because I do not want to play God, nor do I want to define which life is valuable and which life is not, because also because it is a slippery slope. After all, look at what is happening in the Netherlands: https://lifelegaldefensefoundation.org/2005/01/02/euthanize-children/.
      Or here, where a mother’s child (who has Down Syndrome) was clearly labeled as someone who did not have a “life worth living” by a prenatal testing company: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/mom-horrified-to-see-downs-syndrome-daughters-photo-on-ad-for-prenatal-test. . Or the horrible case of Simon, who was unloved because of his birth defect: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/trisomy-angel-the-boy-with-a-divine-purpose-who-taught-people-the-meaning-o.

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