While the rest of the world seems completely engrossed in 2 man babies going toe to toe over in America an important news story is failing to get the coverage I feel that it deserves.
The Polish government, after attempting to pass a court order banning nearly ALL abortions, has seen thousands of women take the streets in Poland to voice their anger at this decision. We are witnessing the largest demonstration in the country since the fall of communism in 1989 and the show of female solidarity is staggering.
Poland currently has some of the strictest anti-abortions laws in Europe, this current new ruling would see further restrictions being actioned, limiting a women’s fundamental right to choose what happens to their bodies even further. The new law would seek to criminalise women and girls who have sought or had an abortion, making them liable for lengthy prison sentences. They also want to increase the maximum term for anyone who assists or encourages them to have abortions.
There are just over 1000 legal abortions every year in Poland, but women’s groups say that the number of abortions carried out illegally or abroad could actually be between 80,000 and 120,000. Outlawing abortions will not decrease the numbers seeking and obtaining them, what it will do is drive desperate women to increasingly dangerous situations in order to obtain one. The argument presented for this is the protection of all life – seemingly at the expense of the women carrying the baby. The irony is difficult to stomach.
There has been growing anger toward the Law and Justice (PIS) Party that has ruled in Poland since 2015 – the PIS party has been accused of eroding democratic norms during its time in power. These official strikes are taking place led by the women of Poland in over 60 Polish cities. Thousands of men are standing in solidarity with them taking the government by surprise as they witness a uniting against this ruling; it is described by many protestors as yet another decision being being made for them, taking further steps towards losing their hard won freedoms of the post communist era.
Universities and work places are supporting these female strikers causing further alarm in the PIS party – The New York Times have quoted the education and science minister Przemyslaw Czarnek as threatening to cut funding for universities after some uni’s have cancelled classes to allow students to attend the rallies. The minister has actually deemed this show of solidarity as ‘scandalous’.
However the overwhelming response and sheer numbers of people striking is showing the government the power that women have in their country, something a society built on patriarchy is terrified of. This incredible show of female solidarity is forcing the government to reassess their decision, after all half the population is female if they all strike what does that mean for the economy?! This is a very negative side being highlighted against this countries government. The spotlight that they are now under, for the entire rest of world to see, will not be very welcome.
I salute these courageous women standing together like this and showing their power by getting their voices heard. Decisions about women’s bodies should be made by women, NOT by politicians. We can make these decisions for ourselves we have the intelligence, the education and the voice to do what is right for ourselves. I hope women everywhere see this and feel empowered to speak up against things that that are not right. Over the last 100 years female empowerment and the feminism movement has seen a massive improvement in women’s rights, however, we still have a long way to go when the fundamental human rights of women are continually being questioned and threatened. Unless we use our voices and make our stand this patriarchal society will continue to attempt to silence us. Do not go quietly make our voices heard!