Thousands of people on Sunday rallied against the proposed abortion ban by the Catholic Church; this is backed up by the Polish government.
The rally was organised by a socialist party in front of the parliament in Warsaw after Law and Justice (PiS) Party President Jaroslaw Kaczynski decided to adhere to the teachings of a bishop on abortion. This decision has enraged women’s right activists and liberals.
The protesters are clamouring and shouting “keep your hands off the uterus” and “my body, my business,” waving wire coat hangers, which are taken as a stern symbol of underground abortion. An anti-government poster read “Abortion for the government”.
“Even Iran’s abortion laws are more liberal than this proposal. That’s why we must protest,” said Marta Nowak, one of the protesters.
The official draft on abortion was brought by a group of conservative lawyers who also oppose same-sex marriage following the rules of the Catholic Church.
According to WSJ, the proposed ban will reportedly affect the status quo agreed in 1990’s which allowed abortion in cases where the mother’s health and life are at risk; when women get pregnant in the cases of crime and incest; or, when the foetus is malformed.
“We can’t agree for women to be forced to live nine months aware that they’ll give birth to a fetus without a head, lungs or heart. The United Nations say it clearly: it’s torture for women,” said Marcelina Zawisza, an executive of the socialist Razem party.
Jaroslaw Gowin, a deputy prime minister in the Law and Justice government said abortion ban would “de-Christianise Poland”.
According to The Guardian, Polish bishops read a letter across churches in the country and publicly called to reinforce the 1993 abortion regulation.
“Catholics’ position on this is clear and unchangeable. One needs to protect every person’s life from conception to natural death. We ask the lawmakers and the government to initiate the legislation,”said bishops.
Abortion has been a most contentious matter in Poland. Only a few hundred abortions are performed every year while campaigners say that “underground abortions are common”.