Pol­ish women strike against abor­tion ban

The Myanmar Times - - World -

THOU­SANDS of black-clad women protested across Poland against a pro­posed near-total abor­tion ban in the de­voutly Catholic coun­try, where the law is al­ready among the most re­stric­tive in Europe.

Pro-choice ac­tivists used so­cial me­dia to launch the coun­try­wide “Women Strike” protest, urg­ing women to stay away from work and school to at­tend street protests.

Around 2000 peo­ple ral­lied out­side the War­saw head­quar­ters of the gov­ern­ing right-wing Law and Jus­tice (PiS) party, form­ing a “wall of fury” hu­man chain on Oc­to­ber 3.

PiS law­mak­ers in late Septem­ber pushed ahead with a con­tro­ver­sial bill that would al­low ter­mi­na­tions only if the mother’s life is at risk and in­crease the max­i­mum jail term for prac­ti­tion­ers from two years to five.

The cit­i­zen’s ini­tia­tive tabled in par­lia­ment by the Stop Abor­tion coali­tion would also make women who have ter­mi­na­tions li­able to prison terms, though judges could waive pun­ish­ment in their case.

Poland’s in­flu­en­tial Catholic Church has given the ini­tia­tive its seal of ap­proval, though its bish­ops have since op­posed jail­ing women.

Passed in 1993, the cur­rent law bans all ter­mi­na­tions un­less there was rape or in­cest, the preg­nancy poses a health risk to the mother or the foe­tus is se­verely de­formed.

A poll pub­lished this week by the Newsweek Pol­ska magazine showed that 74 per­cent of Poles want to keep the ex­ist­ing law.

The Euro­pean Par­lia­ment is ex­pected to de­bate women’s rights in Poland to­day. –

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