On Women’s Day, they protest in Poland over anti-abortion law

On Women's Day, they protest in Poland over anti-abortion law

WARSAW – Women’s rights advocates in Poland divided International Women’s Day on Monday between reasons to celebrate and a strong sense that a long legal battle awaits them.
In January, a near-total ban on abortion went into effect in this historically Catholic country, a measure long sought by the ruling conservative law and justice party.

However, as Marta Lempart, leader of the Polish Women’s Strike social women’s rights movement, told The Associated Press prior to the Warsaw protest, Poland is a country undergoing a rapid process of secularization and growing support for a law allowing abortion.

She and other leaders of the movement are convinced that the process of social change will ultimately favor their fight for reproductive freedom. Monday’s protest focuses on the right to abort, but also includes a call for greater state support for in vitro procedures and sex education.

“We have reason to celebrate because we are a mass movement, we are the only country that is secularizing so fast and embracing feminism so fast,” Lempart stressed.

The activists indicated that women in Poland are interrupting their pregnancies no matter what the law says, some with pills and others by traveling to Slovakia, Germany, Norway or other countries.

“If a woman wants to have an abortion, nothing will stop her,” said activist Marta Krzynowek, adding that restrictions on abortion rights are part of a larger assault on democracy in Poland.

Suchanow explained that many activists are being arrested and facing criminal charges, or facing police violence in protests.

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