Polish women protest and counter-protest abortion ban proposal
PR dla Zagranicy
Women opposed to tightening Poland’s abortion laws are staging strikes in a number of Polish cities on Monday, with a number of counter protests also planned.
Participants of the strike will not go to work or school on Monday, and those women who do not work will refrain from domestic chores.
A march will be held at 3:30 pm in Warsaw.
Meanwhile, counter-protests are being held around the country.
The Polish Bishops' Conference asked Catholics to pray for “the conscience and the light of the Holy Spirit [to shine on] all Poles who protect human life from conception to natural death”.
The protests come after a controversial citizens’ initiative to tighten staunchly Catholic Poland’s already restrictive abortion laws cleared a key parliamentary hurdle. The bill was sent by MPs to the committee stage.
That initiative, by the Stop Abortion group, is backed by some 450,000 signatures.
It calls for a total ban on abortion – even in cases of rape and incest – and would make women who terminate pregnancies liable to jail time.
At the same time, members of parliament rejected a rival bid to liberalise abortion laws.
The pro-choice initiative by the Save Women coalition had been backed by over 215,000 signatures. It called for women to be allowed to terminate pregnancy on demand, up to the 12th week of pregnancy.
Poland’s current law on abortion, passed in 1993, bans terminations unless there was rape or incest, the pregnancy poses a health risk to the mother or the foetus is severely deformed.
Earlier this week, fraction leaders decided the European Parliament would hold a debate on Wednesday on the situation of women in Poland.
Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło slammed that decision, saying it showed that the European Parliament is losing its credibility, that the EU treaty needs to be changed and the bloc needs to be reformed. (rg)