March 18 saw thousands of Polish citizens gather together in Warsaw to protest what many residents are calling the Catholic Church’s intrusion into politics, as they have taken up new measures to make even more strict the country’s already strict abortion laws. The new legislation will still allow abortions when a mother’s life is at risk, but people with Down Syndrome, impaired foetuses and those who are irreparably sick will not longer be able to get abortions.
The crowd was alive with signs that read statements such as “Free choice” and “A woman is a human being.” Along with the signs were calls and chants were for reproductive freedom. Given that Poland has some of the most strictest laws in Poland, one has to wonder what will be the final outcome of these protest.
At the moment one can only receive an abortion if the pregnancy will bring risk to the mother’s life, if the fetus is damaged or if the pregnancy was the result of assault or incest. That said, even these harsh limits are not enough for the very religious country. In 2016 they took measures to completely ban any type of abortion. This attempt by the government inspired a nationwide protest in which women dressed in black and forced the government from going through with the plan.
The protest started out at the seat of the country’s most influential bishop and from they the marched to the parliament. From there they marched on further to the headquarters of the ruling right-wing party.
During the march, Paulina Rudnik, a 44-year-old protester stated the following, “This is against attempts at taking away our right to decide what we want,”
The women of Poland are not marching alone, in fact Nils Muiznieks, the EU Commissioner for Human Rights and also UN experts are pleading with the Polish parliament to reject the bill.