“Black Protest” against abortion ban in Poland

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Amid September sunshine, street vendors, and a public awareness campaign for heart disease, over 1,000 Cracovians gathered on the Main Square dressed in black. They were there to protest a law advanced by the ruling PiS party which would ban all abortions.

One of ten such gatherings around the country (and more in major cities worldwide), the demonstration, #CzarnyProtest (Black Protest), was organized by Dziewuchy dziewuchom (Wenches to wenches) and drew support from a variety of anti-PiS political groups like The Committee for Defense of Democracy (Komitet Obrony Demokracji, KOD) and fledgling political party Razem (Together). The feminist organization has put together similar protests since the bill was brought to the table earlier this year by a citizens’ initiative backed by the Catholic Church.

The existing law, according to a poll this week by Newsweek Polska, is supported by 74% of Poles and only permits around 2,000 legal abortions per year – in the case of a life-threatening pregnancy, a pregnancy as the result of proven rape or incest, or a seriously malformed fetus.

This PiS-backed measure, however, does away with these exceptions and threatens jail time for women who break it. Furthermore, it would make it illegal to freeze embryos or to fertilize more than one egg at a time, measures aimed at curbing in vitro fertilization – a controversial practice in the largely Catholic country.

This past week, attempts to defeat it in the Polish legislature in Warsaw were quashed, and it has been sent to committee – the final stage before adoption.

The Krakow Post spoke with a few of the attendees to get their perspective:

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Jagiellonian University Psychology professor Grażyna

“This new law isn’t democratic, and it doesn’t treat women right,” the 79-year-old says. She believes the law should remain as it is and says this isn’t her first protest in support of that.

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University students Basia (L), Zusia, and Karol

Zusia, 20: “The things that are happening in Poland right now are sick… I’m here because I don’t accept it.” She says the new law could make the difference between her staying in Poland or moving to Western Europe after studies.

Karol, 20: “I think women should have a choice, especially in the case of pregnancy because of rape.” He supports the current law and PO, PiS’ chief rival party in the Polish government.

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Semi-retired Biology teacher Jacek

The 68-year-old said that he has become more active in politics since his grown children moved abroad and he started his pension, participating in groups that support not only women’s rights but also those for refugees and sexual minorities – “people who have no protection from the authorities.” He feels frustrated that women in particular are targeted for prosecution by (mostly male) anti-abortion lawmakers, as if the pregnant women “were all a bunch of Virgin Marys,” and accused PiS of manipulating the public’s emotions for political gain. Although he identifies as Catholic, he acknowledges that some in the Church might not say so because of his liberal views. Jacek expressed a wish that the members of the young national ultra-right – “these young men with shaved head and Polish eagles on their jackets” – would better learn their history and that doing so would open their minds. About this, however, he confesses, “I am not an optimist.”


Aleksandra Smoleń contributed to the research and editing of this article.

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31 thoughts on ““Black Protest” against abortion ban in Poland

  • September 26, 2016 at 12:45 am
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    Ugh. The detritus of society. All of them are part of a fifth column working for agencies and actors in the US and elsewhere to undermine Poland’s values. Jail them. They have no right to murder Polish children for their convenience.

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    • September 28, 2016 at 1:21 pm
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      You have no right to tell a woman what to do with her body at your convenience!

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      • September 30, 2016 at 1:30 am
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        From an American: We liberalized our laws and now have “abortions” up to the moment of delivery. This has contributed to our fall as a nation. Once a nation goes down this road, it can never turn back. It opens the doors for l kinds of nightmares

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        • October 5, 2016 at 10:55 am
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          Erm I think you got it wrong. The existing law allows abortion so it’s not going down a road. If it’s not broke don’t fix it. Pro~choice and educate. A more intelligent and freer population / workforce = happiness and progress.

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      • October 1, 2016 at 8:45 pm
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        A woman has no right to murder a Polish child at any stage. It is not a slave, it is not her property. It a woman murders a Polish child, she should take a bullet.

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        • October 5, 2016 at 11:00 am
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          You bear a baby which is spawned from rape, deformed genetically, will kill you and be parent less. You be subject to poverty and starvation. Prochoice and educate.

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    • September 28, 2016 at 5:00 pm
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      So what are Poland’s values nowadays? Burning people in effigy? Beating up a South American because he had dark sin? Beating up a professor because he spoke German on a Warsaw tram?

      Have we heard a peep from Mr K about any of this? Ah, but he’s not the actual leader, is he? It’s not his fault if everyone thinks he is. Is anyone taking any responsibility? Is this the independent Poland which our parents and grandparents fought for?

      Further rants to follow…

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      • September 28, 2016 at 5:35 pm
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        Nie podniecaj sie, Salwator. Keep a cool head. I understand Mr Kaczynski is a big fan of the Krakow Post and we may hear something about these xenophobic incidents from him yet. (Not that he is anything but a humble politico and in no way would he seek to influence government policy, of course)

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        • September 28, 2016 at 8:07 pm
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          I won’t be holding my breath.

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      • October 1, 2016 at 8:44 pm
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        If you are not Polish, you don’t belong in Poland. Parasites need to leave the country. Why is a South American in Poland on anything other than tourism? He has no right to the land, no connection with it. I’m pretty sure Poland wasn’t liberated so it could end up like its pathetic western neighbors, like Germany and Belgium and France which are going extinct. You’d sell Poland to the third world. Disgusting.

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        • October 2, 2016 at 12:05 am
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          You may not get a job with the Polish Tourist Board. Or with the Polish Diplomatic Service.

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          • October 2, 2016 at 12:12 am
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            If you’re Polish, that is. If you’re not, then you shouldn’t be commenting about what Poles should or shouldn’t do.

          • October 2, 2016 at 10:28 am
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            And BTW you talk about Poland being “liberated”. Nobody liberated Poland. The Poles had to liberate themselves. If you knew any history, then your opinions might be welcome. As it is, you need to do some homework before you post on a site like this.

            And for the benefit of everyone else in this debate, here’s something which could be relevant:

            https://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/oct/01/soviet-masss-rape-of-nuns-rreduced-film-maker-to-tears

          • October 2, 2016 at 12:22 pm
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            And if you’re a foreigner in Poland, then by your own definition, you must be a parasite, so you need to follow your own advice and leave the country. Goodbye.

          • October 2, 2016 at 1:33 pm
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            Salwator tram man makes some valid points, although I wouldn’t go as far as to say that being foreign should automatically prevent anyone from commenting about Poland.

            But foreign bigotry is certainly not welcome. Poland has had more than enough experience of outsiders feeling they are entitled to intervene in Polish affairs.

          • October 2, 2016 at 5:46 pm
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            You’re too soft on this troll. “Taking a bullet” is incitement to murder since there is no death penalty in Poland. The Polish Justice Department might like to check out Mr Citadel.

          • October 2, 2016 at 7:51 pm
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            Don’t turn your fire at me, Salwator. I am not defending this person in the least, only saying that foreigners should be welcome and many of them do have valid opinions about Poland. This person – a foreigner himself by the looks of it – seems to be on some kind of personal crusade and the fact that this is a Polish site is completely coincidental to him. He may well think of himself as an anti-globalist on a global scale. But if he breaks the law in his comments then he should be prepared to face the consequences.

          • October 2, 2016 at 11:30 pm
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            Anyone with even the slightest grasp of how law works would know that voicing the opinion that abortion should = death penalty is not tantamount to a death threat. Haha. What an idiot.

            Besides, your opinion is largely irrelevant. Your people got kicked out of the government, and PiS is making sure they never get in again. Its over for Liberal scum in Poland, just as in Hungary and Russia. No third worlders should be anywhere in Europe.

          • October 3, 2016 at 4:31 pm
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            Your demand that women who have abortions should be shot amounts to a death threat, since there is no death penalty in Poland. If you had wanted to say instead, that, in your considered opinion, the death penalty should be reintroduced, then you should have said so in coherent English.

          • October 3, 2016 at 5:11 pm
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            And what has any of this to do with “third worlders”? Do you just need a platform to rant on?

          • October 4, 2016 at 1:08 am
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            Whose opinion is largely irrelevant? Are you talking to me or Salwator? Actually, don’t answer that because it doesn’t really matter. If you think that anyone who disagrees with your extremist views must be liberal scum then that says more about you than your political opponents. Good luck in charm school.

        • October 3, 2016 at 12:42 pm
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          Then maybe all the Polish in the UK should go home. It’s bizarre that us Poles feel we should be entitled to go wherever we want but nobody should be entitled to come to Poland.

          With this attitude, I’m not surprised that most Poles are seen as racist xenophobic numbskull idiots.

          Maybe Poland should also leave the EU.

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        • October 3, 2016 at 2:20 pm
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          You must be a real hit at parties.

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    • September 30, 2016 at 4:48 pm
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      WHAT children? A malformed featus that is born stillborn is your sweet baby? And IT is more important than HER, a person who has been born already and has hopes, dreams and feelings?
      So fuck all of you bastards who have been born already, you life has no deeper meaning, make room for babies

      Reply
  • September 26, 2016 at 3:57 am
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    They want to be responsible for their own extinction.

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    • September 28, 2016 at 7:18 am
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      Sometimes i really cant believe how stupid humans can be. You are a perfect example.

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  • September 27, 2016 at 4:12 pm
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    I believe we can trust women to make moral decisions about their own lives.

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  • September 29, 2016 at 11:32 am
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    So “Karol 20” feels that women should have a choice? What about choices for the unborn baby? It never ceases to amaze me how pro-abortion campaigners only consider the rights of the woman and assume that unborn babies have the same rights as used tampons. I do however feel that the present abortion laws in Poland are adequate, although children conceived from rape should in my view be spared the death penalty.

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  • October 12, 2016 at 3:38 am
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    So glad that I’m from a country where abortion is legal and is a government service on request for women.
    Putting women in jail because of abortion is clearly unfair because human are not one-cell animals that reproduce by itself. The law simply ignores the partner in crime, men.

    Reply
  • October 24, 2016 at 9:38 pm
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    Абортът е убийство на невинни деца в майчина утроба! Против аборта! Да за живота на децата!

    Reply
  • October 25, 2016 at 10:31 am
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    Abortion-this is murder! No to abortion! Yes to life!

    Reply

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