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Poland Takes to the Streets to Demand a Woman's Right to Abortion

Updated: Nov 19, 2021 10/25/2020: Thousands of people have marched in cities across Poland for the past several days and continue to protest the near-total ban recently placed on aborions in their country. Many protesters are promising further action in coming days in cities across the country. Untold numbers of women are very angry and this loss of rights and decision-making power over their own bodies and reproductive choices is radicalizing large numbers for the long term.

Poland’s highest court ruled recently that the abortion of malformed fetuses was incompatible with the constitution, provoking an outcry from rights groups in and outside of the deeply Catholic country of 38 million people. Some protesters chanted: “Freedom, equality, women’s rights.” “Disgrace!” and “War on Women”, read other placards carried by protesters. Most have an image of a red lightning bolt that has become a symbol of the cause.

It is important to note that the demonstrations went ahead in defiance of a government ban on public gatherings imposed as part of measures designed to reduce the rising number of coronavirus cases in the country. Changes taking place in the Polish judiciary have put conservative Poland on a collision course with the EU. The abortion ruling drew immediate condemnation from the Council of Europe, the continent’s leading human rights body. Its commissioner for human rights, Dunja Mijatović, called it “a sad day for #WomensRights”. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have also condemned the ruling.

Something similar is waiting to happen in the USA, as the supreme court moves to the right with no less than 3 appointments in the first term of Donald Trump, most recently a woman who is expected to overturn the right of a woman to decide, in accordance with 'her', Amy Coney Barrett´s, fundamentalist Christian and patriarchal understanding of human life.