Protests in Poland: women fight for their rights

for a general strike and paralyzed traffic in the capital. The protests were triggered by the decision of the Constitutional Court, which declared illegal even abortions in the case of severe deviations in the development of the fetus and thus tightened up one of the most severe abortion laws in Europe. Will the protesters be able to force the government to back down?

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The genie cannot be driven back into the bottle

The large-scale protests caught PiS leader Kaczynski by surprise, Carolina Vigura and Jaroslaw Kuisz write in their article in The Guardian:

“This time, the populist strategy didn’t work. A new political split has been created in society, and Kaczynski is equally unable to influence the outcome of the situation, nor to return the genie back to the bottle. He still has three whole years before the next parliamentary elections, but now women, who previously did not show interest in politics and parties, are beside themselves with indignation and took to the streets. … As Montesquieu noted almost 300 years ago, a despot who enslaves his subjects sometimes enslaves himself. It was in such a trap that Kaczynski, now cornered, found himself. … Ultimately it could send him straight to the dustbin of Polish history.”

Most are still silent

According to Denik newspaper, the protesters are unlikely to succeed:

“How realistic is it to abolish the tightening of abortion laws? Has the PiS party tightened the screws too much? Can the current demonstrations make a difference in the country? Hardly. Those who have been demonstrating for the rights of women for a week now have such hopes, but in Poland, there are also a significant number of those who are silent and satisfied with the policy of the authorities. And, as the election results of recent years show, such people are in the majority.”

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Women’s rights are more important than the risk of infection

In her article in Gazeta Wyborcza, journalist Eliza Michalik speaks out for those who go to demonstrations despite the pandemic and the threat of the virus:

“People didn’t arrange it for themselves. They simply react to the situation created by the Constitutional Court appointed by the PiS party — created by its decision, forcing women to give birth even if there are deformation and irreversible fetal malformations. … We, the citizens of Poland, have no choice left. If there are no protests, if we remain silent, it will be perceived as our agreement to continue to put up with oppression and violence.”

Global battlefield

The female body is still an arena of ideological struggle, states the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper:

“The raised principle of ‘protecting the unborn life’ is at the same time denying women the right to make their own decisions. Abortion is the most personal and difficult decision a woman can face — and now she’s been denied the right to decide! In addition to personal choice and responsibility, the tightening of abortion laws, always and in every country in the world, is a reflection of the existing gender inequality in that country. Whether it’s factories for the production of babies’ set up by human traffickers in Nigeria, or the systematic rape of Yezidi women, or forced childbirth now taking place in Poland, the female body remains a platform for ideological crusades.”

Clandestine abortions will only grow

Now even more Poles will perform illegal abortions, writes the Neue Zurcher Zeitung:

“The leader of the ruling PiS party and the most important political figure in Poland, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, said four years ago what this is specifically about: before, they say, a child is buried, he must undergo a baptism ceremony. And the desire of the parents does not play any role here. This approach is inhuman. … In Poland, there is already legislation on abortion that ignores the woman’s right to independent decision-making. … Last year, only 1100 cases of abortion were officially registered in the country. However, according to the estimates of the organization for the support of women Federal, annually more than one hundred thousand Poles perform abortions, who either travel to one of the neighboring countries for this or do it illegally and at the risk of their own health. There is no doubt that this number will only grow.”

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