This afternoon, the Justice and Human Rights Committee of the Polish Sejm announced that it would throw out a proposed law which would have banned all abortion in Poland.
The decision comes on the heels of a series of mass protests which saw tens of thousands of women and men dressed in black take to the streets in opposition to the bill. The latest “CzarnyProtest” (BlackProtest) took place this Monday, when women across the country went on strike to demonstrate in droves in the rain, chanting “Chcę mieć wybór” (“I want choice”).
It seems the movement had an effect: Since the protests began, polling has shown an increase to near-unanimous popular opposition to the bill, and even growing support for more liberal laws. Currently, abortion is only legal if the pregnancy is the result of a crime or if the woman’s life is in danger, and about 2,000 abortions are performed legally in Poland each year. Minister of Science and Higher Education Jarosław Gowin cited the demonstrations in explaining the decision, saying the women “caused us to think and taught us humility.”
Nevertheless, Jarosław Kaczyński, leader of the right-wing governing PiS party, has suggested that they could move in the future to tighten abortion laws to a lesser degree. In that case, activists have threatened further protests.