Women’s rights activists staged protests during Sunday Masses in predominantly Roman Catholic Poland against a tightening of the nation’s already restrictive abortion law
By VANESSA GERA Associated Press
October 25, 2020, 11:41 AM
• 2 min read
WARSAW, Poland -- Women's rights activists in Poland staged protests during Sunday church services in the predominantly Roman Catholic nation against a tightening of the nation's already restrictive abortion law.
In the fourth straight day of protests, activists held up banners during Masses in some churches, according to Polish media and posts on social media.
A young woman in one Warsaw church stood near the altar with a sign that said “Let's pray for the right to abortion.”
The actions on Sunday follow a ruling on Thursday by Poland's constitutional court that declared that aborting fetuses with congenital defects is unconstitutional. Poland already had one of Europe’s most restrictive abortion laws, and the ruling will result in a near-complete ban on abortion.
Women's Strike, the organizer of the protests, argues that forcing women to give birth to badly deformed fetuses will result in unnecessary physical and mental suffering.
In Otwock, a town near Warsaw, a banner with the slogan “Women’s Hell” was hung on a church fence.
The activists also created posters of a crucified pregnant woman intended for hanging outside churches, according to media reports, though it was not immediately clear how many were hung.
A right wing news portal, Do Rzeczy, called it a “scandalous protests by feminists.”
Thursday's ruling came as Poland's nationalist conservative ruling party has politicized the courts — including the constitutional court — and used discriminatory language against LGBT people.
Last week, the president swore in a new education minister who has said that LGBT people are not equal to “normal people,” has argued in support of corporal punishment and said women's key purpose in life is to have children.
Health Ministry figures show that 1,110 legal abortions were carried out in Poland in 2019, mostly because of fetal defects. The only other legal cases remaining for abortion are rape or incest or if the pregnancy threatens the woman's life or health.
Women's Strike says it is planning further actions in the coming days, including blockades of cities on Monday, a nationwide strike by women on Wednesday and street protests on Friday.