Poland Catholic Churches' Proposed Total Ban on Abortion Prompts Thousands to Protest

Poland Catholic Churches' Proposed Total Ban on Abortion Prompts Thousands to Protest
Source: AP
Source: AP

This week, clergy members across Poland called for even tighter restrictions to the country's existing legislation on abortion, amounting to a total ban. 

Currently, under Polish law, women are only allowed to terminate a pregnancy in the case of a threat to the woman's health or the embryo's health, or when it is the result of an "illegal act."

A video posted to Facebook shows churchgoers staging a walkout while a priest reads a letter supporting the proposed ban at Sunday mass. According to the Guardian, the right-leaning Law and Justice Party proposed the law in order to align with the Catholic church's teachings.

Read more: Trump Endorses "Punishment" for Women Who Get Abortions — Then Flip-Flops

But the walkout was only the beginning of the backlash.

On Sunday, thousands participated in demonstrations across Warsaw and other Polish cities, uniting under the phrase "No to the torture of women." Protesters chanted "keep your hands off the uterus" and "my body, my business" and wielded wire hangers, a reminder that abortion restrictions force many women to seek dangerous alternative methods of pregnancy termination.

The strong ties between church and state driving the new legislation have been fueling Poland's social agenda for decades. "The church is now cooperating more with the state and not with society,"  University of Warsaw sociologist Michal Luczewski told the Huffington Post in 2013. "Poland is the only case where we overturned a very liberal abortion law that made abortion legal for everyone who used it," he added later in the interview.

Women in Poland looking for reproductive autonomy take issue with the Catholic church's growing influence on state policy.

"Even Iran's abortion laws are more liberal than this proposal," protester Marta Nowak told the Guardian. "That's why we must protest."

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Marie Solis

Marie is a staff writer with a focus in feminist issues. Her writing has appeared in Gothamist and the Awl. You can reach her at marie@mic.com.

MORE FROM

Amid new revelations, here’s what we’ve learned about the Russian lawyer who met with Trump Jr.

The picture of Natalia Veselnitskaya is coming into clearer focus.

Republican Senator urges whoever leaked Russia/Sessions phone calls to release whole conversation

Sen. Chuck Grassley wants the person who leaked intelligence about Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak to come forward with more information.

Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort now to testify before Senate committee behind closed doors

Trump Jr. and Manafort have avoided a subpoena and will testify behind closed doors — for now.

Hope Hicks reportedly tried to rein Trump in during explosive ‘Times’ interview. It didn’t work.

The low-profile Trump Whisperer is one of the few in the president's orbit to enjoy job security.

Scaramucci once asked Obama if he’d be softer on Wall Street. It didn’t end well.

The exchange came during a CNBC town hall on the financial crisis, two years into Obama’s presidency.

Trump blasts Hilary Clinton, Comey and ‘Amazon Washington Post’ in tweet storm

He also defended Don Jr. and called Democrats "obstructionists" with "no ideas."

Amid new revelations, here’s what we’ve learned about the Russian lawyer who met with Trump Jr.

The picture of Natalia Veselnitskaya is coming into clearer focus.

Republican Senator urges whoever leaked Russia/Sessions phone calls to release whole conversation

Sen. Chuck Grassley wants the person who leaked intelligence about Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak to come forward with more information.

Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort now to testify before Senate committee behind closed doors

Trump Jr. and Manafort have avoided a subpoena and will testify behind closed doors — for now.

Hope Hicks reportedly tried to rein Trump in during explosive ‘Times’ interview. It didn’t work.

The low-profile Trump Whisperer is one of the few in the president's orbit to enjoy job security.

Scaramucci once asked Obama if he’d be softer on Wall Street. It didn’t end well.

The exchange came during a CNBC town hall on the financial crisis, two years into Obama’s presidency.

Trump blasts Hilary Clinton, Comey and ‘Amazon Washington Post’ in tweet storm

He also defended Don Jr. and called Democrats "obstructionists" with "no ideas."