Poland Abortion Ban Causes Largest Protest in Decade

Thousands take to the streets in protests for their rights



Protests of abortion restrictions in Krakow and throughout Poland have erupted recently.

Lily Harrison, Staff Writer

On October 22, 2020 Poland declared a law that prohibited almost all abortions by causing them to be seen as inhumane, causing an outcry across Poland, ushering thousands to take to the streets in protest. 

The radical movement began when it was announced that the only cases of legal abortions would be cases of rape and incest that result in a fetus. This sparked a fire within many citizens, due to the fact that even before this new ban was announced, Poland was known to have some of the strictest abortion laws within Europe. 

Many women took to the streets in protest for their rights dressed as women from the famous novel/show “The Handmaid’s Tale” in white bonnets and red capes. Others came in everyday clothing, but brought items such as drums and flares. This outcry led to the disruption of oversized crowds and the vandalization of many different churches. 

The protests included a strike that brought tens of thousands of people out of their homes to fight for the ban to be terminated. The protesters themselves had many clashes between police and neo-fascists and they have been happening since the ban was announced.

“We fear it is going to get nasty tonight, I have never seen a protest on such a scale,” Antonina Lewandoska, a well known women rights activist stated to The Irish Times. 

Lewandoska went on to state, “We have protested in small towns, the countryside; farmers, taxi drivers and football fans all out joining the protest. I think the government underestimated the level of frustration.”

Numerous feel this frustration because if the ban were to be cemented into law, it would not be able to be appealed. Thus, many women in need of pregnancy termination that do not fit the legal criteria would be left to unsafe and illegal abortions that can cause infertility and even death. 

The ban would allow doctors the ability to refuse any women that came to a clinic for an abortion on grounds of religious and morality reasons. The idea seemed to have stemmed from religious matters, and the government of Poland took it upon themselves to oblige the protests of the church rather than the overlying concern for women’s health. 

The protests have been called and considered unpatriotic and the Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski even deemed it a “war.” Others who have been on the side of the people and within the protests deem it “necessary.”

Those within America, who watch these protests from an outsider’s perspective, understand that this is an example of what could happen if America banned abortions like countless people want. Many pro-life supporters protest outside abortion clinics within the United States daily, yet don’t understand the consquences of banning abortion like Poland has been trying to do.