Poland shows the power of coming together and grassroots action

In Poland, people have been protesting a recently issued court ruling that bans abortion except for cases of rape, incest and great danger to mother’s health for over two weeks. The protests seem to be working.

On October 22, the Polish Government passed a court ruling that made abortion illegal in the country except for a few cases. The issue of abortion and bodily autonomy was already a topic of heated discussion as Poland already had one of what can be seen as the strictest abortion laws in Europe.

Expectedly, the people of Poland did not take the news well. After the decision was announced, people immediately took to the streets, got together and started organising. Last Friday, protesters in Warsaw held the largest ever protest against Poland’s ruling party, with over 100.000 people. Protests were held in 150 across Poland and more all over the world.

Following the unrest, the Polish Government has decided to delay the publication of the ruling indefinitely. Without the publication, the ruling is not legally in effect. Legal experts say that the government can still publish the decision, as they have done with other controversial laws in the past, but that would be against the Polish constitution.

Michał Dworczyk, head of the prime minister’s office said: “There is a discussion going on, and it would be good to take some time for dialogue and for finding a new position in this situation, which is difficult and stirs high emotions.”

Following the protest and the delay of the ruling’s publication, the far-right-party-aligned president of Poland, Andrzej Dud, proposed a new ruling that would allow abortions if the fetus has life-threatening birth-defects but not for conditions like Down Syndrome. Activists leading the protests find this proposal meek and a distraction and still demand full bodily autonomy for people of Poland.

The government’s decision to stop the publication of the ruling is by no means a win, yet. However, it is a testament to the fact that grassroots activism works. That when people come together and raise their voices in tandem, they are heard and can ignite change.

There is still a lot of work to be done for women’s rights in Poland and everywhere else in the world. To support these movements you can donate to organisations below that support grassroots activism. All of these organisations have been vetted by our research team and are amongst the top-scoring in their field.

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