Poland protests have seen hundreds of thousands of people attend mega rallies rejecting new, tighter abortion laws put into place by their right-wing government.
An outcry for British media attention has been seen across social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as Polish residents beg for awareness of the new, harsher restrictions being brought in across the country.
One Facebook status broadcast read: “We’re fighting for our rights as right now our undemocratic government successfully banned almost all abortions.
“For anyone interested in covering this topic in any sort of media, please let me know. We need international help and support.”
The pleas come as outraged Polish citizens have been marching in the masses for over 2 weeks since the decision banning almost all abortions was announced on Thursday the 22nd of October.
Thousands of protestors assemble all around Poland demanding the Constitutional Court reconsider the ruling.
Aleksandra Sidoruk, a 21 year old Polish student who’s efforts have been relentless in the Poland protests told Unsaid:
“We demand liberalisation of the abortion act. We demand high-quality access to sex-education, easy access to contraception and separation of the church and the state.”
Poland as a Catholic country
Tensions have been rising in Poland as the Catholic Church, one the countries most influential institutions, is shook by the defiance against the new laws disallowing abortions in the case of foetal abnormalities.
It was seen that leaders of the Catholic Churches pressured the governing Law and Justice party to impose the stricter restraints on the terminations of pregnancies.
Stigma surrounding abortion
When the ruling comes into effect abortions will only be legal in instances where the mother’s life or health is seen to be in danger or in cases of rape or incest.
However these circumstances only accounted for 2.4% of legal Polish abortions in 2019.
The new law will reject the termination of pregnancy in cases which accounted for 98% of procedures carried out in Poland last year.
Such stigma surrounds the issue of abortion, it is estimated from a recent study, (Polish Abortion Tourism), between 80,000 and 120,000 Polish women seek an abortion abroad each year.
This is in comparison to the 1,074 legal terminations carried out last year.
Statistics show that in practice 1,074 out of 1,100 abortions in Poland last year were performed in the circumstance of foetal abnormalities.
The anger around the possible banning of abortions in these cases has sparked fury reflected in the Poland protest’s banners where some read, “I wish I could abort my Government” and “This is war”.
Poland protests and peace
The Polish president tweeted on the 28th of October, just 6 days into protests, President Andrzej Duda: Acts of aggression, insulting religious feelings, attacks on churches under the rule of law cannot take place.
I condemn them with all my might. I am calling for peace, to common sense. I urge you to keep yourself in a subdued manner. Because these are matters that can be easily settled. (From his official twitter account @prezydentpl.)
However, Miss Sidoruk claims, “Poland protests are peaceful. We’re dancing, singing and having fun. There is vulgarity in some of the slogans, but I think it’s an accurate reaction to what’s been happening in this country for a long time.”
The proposal was scheduled to be formally published on the 2nd of this month, however has been postponed amid the large outrage it has sparked from the countries pro-choice protestors.
Polish citizens claim the mass gatherings have seen to create the first signs of civil pressure as the ruling was delayed indefinitely by the Polish government on Tuesday 3rd of November.
This response prevents the change to come into legal force until a decision on the controversial ruling is made, which can happen at any time.
“We don’t want any kind of deals, any kind of compromises, we want full access to abortion. The current law is literally a deal between politicians and the church.”
“I demand a free choice. Not some kind of deal. It’s one of the most restrictive laws and it needs to come to an end”, young women’s activist Aleksandra told us.
Mass gatherings cause COVID19 spike
The anti-government Poland protests are the largest the country has seen since the 1989 fall of communism.
With COVID-19 restrictions being ignored to demonstrate the nations anger at the Conservative parties ruling, coronavirus cases risk being inflated all over Poland.
The country reported a record breaking 21,000 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday November 6, since the commencing of the protests with the governments ban on gatherings of more than 5 people being ignored for the cause.
President Morawiecki turned to facebook himself to plead with the Polish to stay home amid the current spike in coronavirus cases.
But the protests show no sign of slowing down as for 14 days on end streets of cities all over the country see up to a million people defying the government orders in attempt to prevent the tighter laws being set in stone.
Aleksandra’s final appeal to UK readers was “(to) keep talking about Poland’s situation. Look at your own government’s hands because democracy and human rights are something that can be taken from us at any point.
“Fight for what you believe in and never let that fight be forgotten.”