Large-Scale protests rock Poland

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photo by Tomasz Misztal

Kinga Kaliszczak (right) and her friends hold up signs while participating in a protest against a nationwide abortion ban

Throughout Poland, anti-abortion strikes, and protests continue after Poland’s constitutional tribunal declared abortions unconstitutional for instances where a fetus is diagnosed with a serious and irreversible birth defect. Studies show that these types of abortion account for 96% of legal abortions in Poland, inevitably placing a near-total ban on abortions.

 Women throughout Poland have taken to the streets in droves, displaying their anger and frustration at the new measures controlling abortions. Protests have sprung up throughout Poland in just about every major city, with about one hundred thousand protesters taking to the streets of the Polish capital Warsaw on Friday making it the largest public demonstration of anger against the current ruling government.

Polish women have also started a national strike across Poland last Wednesday taking unpaid leaves, closing stores and shops, and not going to work at all, aiming to gain leverage against the government in a move to get it to change course.

Abortions in Poland are now only legal in the case of rape, or if the pregnancy endangers the life or health of the mother. This accounts for a small number of abortions in Poland and women fear that the government will soon impose a total ban on abortions if action is not taken soon.

 

An insight into the battle

 To get a better understanding and perspective of the situation unfolding in Poland, we need to see the situation from the eyes of a Polish woman.

 15-year-old Kinga Kaliszczak is a young Polish woman who has been protesting on the streets of her small Polish town since the day of the implementation of the abortion ban. Kinga has reached out to friends domestically and internationally to help spread awareness of the situation ongoing in Poland.

 Kinga has been protesting locally in the streets of her little town and has been participating in nationwide strikes aimed at overturning the ban.

 “The thing is that our government a few days ago decided that we still have to give birth even if the fetus is very deformed and can die while giving birth. We still can’t have an abortion.” Kinga offers this explanation as her reason for why she thinks the ban is inhumane. She continued by saying that soon the government will also try to impose a ban on abortions in the case of rape if they can “get away with” the current ban.

 Kinga attended the smaller protests with her friends and members of the community. They participated by creating signs with messages to vent their frustration at the government and showcase that they want to change the way the government looks at abortions. Signs that appeared in these local protests carried massages in Polish such as “her body her choice,” and “if men were to get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.”

photo provided by Kinga Kaliszczak
Signs used in this protest display pro-abortion and pro-women messages in both Polish and English. photo provided by Kinga Kaliszczak

Along with many small protests taking place in Poland, there are massive large-scale protests in the large cities of Poland, such as the capital Warsaw. Kinga goes on to explain, “Poland is now full of strikes and protests, but the police in bigger cities use violence and pepper spray.”

 The use of force by police in the massive protests of larger cities has caused a massive backlash throughout the country. This has contributed to the largest strike ever in Poland’s modern history taking place throughout the nation. Women all over Poland just like Kinga hope to make a difference. They want their voices to be heard and they want to send a clear message to the Polish government, that they will not let the ban go through and continue.

 Kinga hopes to make a difference in Poland, and she hopes she can accomplish that by protesting, striking, and making sure people are aware and can help from all over the world. She thinks that it is a tremendous amount of help just spreading information to other people. “I hope that you can share this so more people would know about it and know that you’re with us,” Kinga said.

More videos can be viewed through this link: https://photos.app.goo.gl/nf8iczWk19AmPauM7

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