As I’ve mentioned several times before, Poland was set to enact, though its legislature, the most stringent anti-abortion law in Europe, forbidding all abortions, including those resulting from rape or incest, or when the mother’s life was endangered. Further, all abortions would have been crimes, punishable by up to five years in prison—presumably for both the woman and her doctor. Right now, those specific abortions are legal in Poland, though “normal” abortions aren’t. Two days ago, on “Black Monday,” thousands of Polish women went on strike, donned black clothing and, with sympathetic men, demonstrated against their right-wing, Catholic-dominated government in cities throughout Poland.
Surprisingly, it seems to have worked, at least with respect to the pending legislation. As the Guardian reports:
A proposed total abortion ban in Poland will not be implemented, a member of the government has said, describing mass protests against the ban as a lesson in humility for the country’s leadership.
Jarosław Gowin, the minister of science and higher education, said on Wednesday that the protests by women had “caused us to think and taught us humility”.
The comments appear to indicate that Poland’s conservative leadership will withhold support from the highly unpopular proposal to ban abortions even in cases of rape, incest or when the mother’s life is at risk.
. . . Also on Wednesday, the Senate speaker, Stanisław Karczewski, said Poland’s upper house of parliament would not initiate work on a bill that would further restrict Poland’s abortion law.
Karczewski said senators would wait to see what the more powerful lower house of parliament would do. However, he voiced support for a ban on abortions of foetuses with Down’s syndrome, something currently allowed.
This isn’t over yet, though. Like Ireland, Poland still bans abortions of all other sorts, a violation of EEU regulations. That is, of course, because of the sway the Catholic Church has over the Polish government. The women of Poland still have a way to go, and they’re fighting a powerful institution in their protests.