THIS PARLIAMENT ISN’T GOING ANY FURTHER!
Just like the brave women of Iceland, who paralysed their country 41 years ago, on October 3rd 2016 Polish women are going on a nationwide warning strike to fight for their basic reproductive rights.
The legislation currently in place in Poland allows for abortion in three cases:
- when a woman's life is in danger,
- when a pregnancy is a result of rape or incest,
- when the foetus is permanently damaged or terminally ill.
But this can soon change.
Last Friday two bills were submitted for Polish parliament's approval.
One, proposed by progressive social movements and political parties, which would allow for legal abortion up to 12th week of pregnancy, introduce sexual education in schools and allow wider access to contraception was rejected in the first reading.
The other one, proposed by Ordo Iuris, which would ban abortion in all cases with no exceptions and could lead to imprisonment if a miscarriage occurs and seems 'suspicious' (meaning it could have not been a natural one), was passed along to a parliamentary commission for further works.
The first call for the strike was made during a Black Protest demonstration held at the Market Square in Wroclaw, Poland. On the same day Facebook event was created and within a single day over 100000 either declared their interest or participation. It is currently the fastest-growing event on Polish Facebook.
The protest consists of two parts:
- a national absence campaign – on-demand leave, a day off for a child, a day off for donating blood and other legal forms of absenteeism at work as well as universities and schools.
- activities organised locally, in different cities, by groups of women cooperating through the fanpage of the Nationwide Women's Strike (Ogólnopolski Strajk Kobiet) on Facebook. So far, over 50 local events have been planned, including small towns that did not participate in previous events and support from abroad, wherever Polish communities are.
Polish women arrange meetings, picketing, demonstrations, but also organise casual meetings. Organisers of the campaign encourage to donate blood that day or to do charity work. The campaign will conclude simultaneously throughout the country at 6 p.m., with a joint protest carried out in different forms.
The organisers are being contacted by various business owners as well as university lecturers declaring their participation in the campaign. We are receiving information about companies closing for Monday, about cancelled lectures at universities as well as days off granted to all female employees by their employers. Mothers say they are not sending their daughters to school. Instead, some of them are actually bringing their children to the protest, all dressed in black.
There are also repeated calls for mass apostasy from the Catholic Church as it had backed the proposed legislation by Ordo Iuris. Some participants have posted pictures of their freshly submitted resignations from the Catholic church.
Among the organisers of the national absence campaign there are social activists, members of feminist and women’s rights organisations and movements as well as non-affiliated people. They have all adopted a NO LOGO principle, because on a national scale, the protest is simply a protest of women and the men who support them.
Local events are created by citizen groups independently - whether via social organisations or by non-affiliated individuals. The decision on the shape and form of the protest lies solely in the hands of a particular group.
And so on October 3rd Polish women are defending their basic reproductive rights against the joined forces of conservative right-wing government, the legal institute Ordo Iuris and... the Polish Catholic Church. For now, there is only one postulate of the protest: immediately cease the Parliament’s work on the barbaric, outrageous anti-abortion bill.
Organisers: "The action on October the 3rd is a form of warning. The 41st Anniversary of the Icelandic strike will be on 24 October and we allow for the possibility that, if the protests are ignored by the authorities, that day will become the next date when Polish women express their opposition, loudly and en masse."
Important information and links:
The official fanpage of the Strike: https://www.facebook.com/ogolnopolskistrajkkobiet/
The main event, which started the whole campaign: https://www.facebook.com/events/1659773451018196/
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