By: Katelyn Wescott
Poland’s anti-abortion decisions have caused an uproar in the country and around the world, causing tens of thousands of Pro-Choice citizens to march the streets in the cities of Warsaw, Krakow, Wrocław, Szczecin and Katowice.
Late last month, Poland’s constitutional court made a decision that basically created a nationwide abortion ban. The ruling more specifically decided that the 1993 law allowing abortion in cases of severe foetal abnormalities was unconstitutional. Because of this decision, abortions will only be legal in cases of rape, incest, or when the health of the mother is at risk, making up only about two percent of abotions in Poland.
The ruling has caused mayhem among women’s rights leaders in Poland, with citizens marching the streets with chants and posters of slogans such as “We want choice, not terror” and “I think, I feel, I decide.” Many of these posters contain a red lighting bolt, an icon that has become a symbol of feminism in recent years. About half a million protesters have been taking the streets, despite the ban on large gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This has caused a debate over whether the protests are really necessary right now because of the risks that they could create.
Most of the protests have been peaceful, but there have been instances of counter-groups using fireworks and batons against the Pro-Choice protesters. Many of these groups have been members of the Catholic Church or far-right political groups in Poland. Police have arrested around a dozen demonstrators from both sides.
In this state of chaos, Poland’s Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, has tried to soften the blow of this new decision, recently making a video appeal to protesters requesting them to stop the protests to protect the health safety of the public. This request was met with little avail from protestors, proving their determination to repeal this court decision.