Poland Abortion Protests

Samantha Elkins, Multimedia Video Editor

Protests in Warsaw, Poland that began on Oct. 22 continue after a court decision declared abortion legal in only two scenarios if the mother’s health or life is at risk or if she became pregnant from rape or incest.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki asked the people to refrain from protesting in the streets, as infected cases have risen to 264,101 due to protests. 

Protesters ignored this request, and thousands of people marched towards Jaroslaw Kaczyński’s residence, the leader of the Law and Justice Party, who many consider the de facto decision-maker in Poland despite not being prime minister.

Poland already had very strict abortion laws implemented.The new law deems it unconstitutional to have an abortion due to fetal defects, which was previously ruled lawful. 

Fetal defects, or medical conditions that occur before birth, make up 98% of abortions in Poland. The new law basically rules out abortion for most women in Poland seeking one.

Outraged, some protesters dressed as characters from “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which includes themes of women in a patriarchal society trying to gain independence and individuality. While mostly peaceful, some protesters stormed mass services chanting and vandalized churches, resulting in police intervention. 

On Oct. 30, President of Poland Andrzej Duda submitted a draft which would legalize abortions for babies with “lethal defects” because the baby would die soon after birth. He derived this from the conclusion that death would be inevitable and life is beyond human control.

Police detained 37 people who were guarding churches deemed as “football hooligans,” while other protesters were peaceful.