‘My Body, My Choice’: Polish Women Protest Against Total Abortion Ban

If the new legislative proposal is passed into law, it would be illegal for a woman to get an abortion even in cases of rape and when a woman’s life is at risk.

Anti-abortion laws in Poland are among the toughest in Europe.

A woman can only get an abortion in the predominantly Catholic nation in the cases of rape, incest, severe fetal deformities or when there’s a threat to the pregnant woman's health.

As if the conditions weren’t severe enough, a new legislative proposal by the conservative government will impose a nearly total ban on abortion – even in cases of rape or potential risk to the woman’s life.

However, millions of Polish women are against it.

On Oct. 3, thousands of women, wearing black went on a strike. They refused to show up to work and do household chores and took to the streets to demand their reproductive rights.

"We don't want this barbarous law," said Kinga Jurga, a protester in Warsaw. "It takes away the right of a woman to choose."

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In the light of the ECHR rulings it is evident that current practices in Poland need reforming and any further restrictions would further violate a wide range of international and regional human rights obligations,” Amnesty International noted in September. “Such restrictions would also constitute a retrogressive measure in contravention to international law.”

Women found to have had abortions would be punished with a 5-year prison term.

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