Poland backs off its attempt to criminalize all abortions

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.


  1. Cindy
    Posted October 5, 2016 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    And lest we forget, El Salvador, where women can be jailed for miscarrying.


    • Heather Hastie
      Posted October 5, 2016 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      That’s unbelievably horrific! Those poor women!

    • somer
      Posted October 5, 2016 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

      In a desperately poor country too – the priority is punishing women for their sexuality

      Literally a miscarriage of justice

  2. Posted October 5, 2016 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Might as well criminalize women’s ability to track their menstrual cycles.

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted October 5, 2016 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    This is what kills the right wing nuts here and makes them hold on tight to the barf bag while voting for Trump. Just one or two justices from savings women’s rights in the U.S. for some time to come.

  4. eric
    Posted October 5, 2016 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Congrats to the women of Poland!

  5. Posted October 5, 2016 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    A victory for democracy, and many other things besides.

  6. Posted October 5, 2016 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    “thRough its legislature” is I believe what you meant. 🙂

  7. rudolphpaul
    Posted October 5, 2016 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    It’s things like this that compel one to make another cash contribution to Planned Parenthood Action.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted October 6, 2016 at 2:12 am | Permalink

      Or in my case, Abortion Support Network (ASN). Either way, it’s a small but practical gesture one can make to underline ones abhorrence of the anti-choicers.


  8. Heather Hastie
    Posted October 5, 2016 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Well done to the protesters, especially Malgorzata and Andrzej. This back down wouldn’t have happened if they hadn’t stood up.

    • ploubere
      Posted October 5, 2016 at 5:46 pm | Permalink


  9. ploubere
    Posted October 5, 2016 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    I have friends who in every respect are educated and progressive and even strong Hillary supporters, yet hang on to their Catholicism. I don’t know how they blind themselves to the cruel ignorance of that church.

  10. somer
    Posted October 5, 2016 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

    Hope the lower house abandons this savagely misogynistic proposal. Reminds me of an Opus Dei cardiologist describing women as well constructed reproduction machines.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted October 6, 2016 at 2:08 am | Permalink

      They’re not. They’re extremely badly designed reproduction machines. If any mechanical engineer designed a reproduction machine that bad, he’d be down the road without a reference.


      • somer
        Posted October 6, 2016 at 3:06 am | Permalink

        Says who? God? 😉

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted October 7, 2016 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

          Says any woman who’s had to give birth.

          Heck, not even that. Says any woman who’s just had her period.


      • Posted October 7, 2016 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

        True. But guys are in no position to laugh, because their own reproductive machinery is hardly better.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted October 7, 2016 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

          Oh, I absolutely agree. Well, partially. I think the womens’ design has even bigger fundamental faults than the mens’, but they’re both pretty bad.


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