“Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping-stone to greatness.”— is one of the greatest sayings of Oprah Winfrey that makes you ponder on the idea of women’s power and their strength to transform setbacks into powerful comebacks. In spite of the crucial position women hold in the society, we witness their constant suppression, a phenomenon that recently upsurged in Poland due to the newest court ruling regarding the ban of abortions in almost every possible case.
As of October 22nd 2020, abortion in Poland is allowed only if the mother’s life is at risk or if the pregnancy is the consequence of rape/incest. Going down the memory lane and analysing Poland’s legislation in relation to abortion, we notice that this is the second time that debates on this particularly delicate topic arise in the span of just four years. Although in 2016 the proposed legislation of completely banning abortions didn’t see the light of day, this wasn’t the case this year. Huge furious crowds of both women and men have invaded the streets of every part of the polish territory against this court ruling: these are considered to be the largest protests in the country since the ones that led to the fall of Communism in the 1980s. As women are the ones that bring people to life, they should also be the ones to decide on whether they want to undergo abortion or not, regardless of the reason. All polish women are united by one common goal, that is the liberalisation of the abortion law, because the decision to prematurely terminate a pregnancy should always belong to the woman herself and not the government or the court.
Although Poland does not have an official religion, the most widespread one is Catholicism. Now, there are 2 main factors that led to this ruling: firstly, the Church has been pressing for a long time to make abortion law stricter, and secondly, the current governing party stands as a supporter of Catholic values. Some things the protestors did that spiked the attention of the media was that they caused disruptions in many church services, confronted many priests and went as far as even painting graffiti on the walls of churches. This is the first time that a significant part of the population goes against the Catholic Church, one of the most authoritative figures in Poland, but also an important link in the chain of the Polish society.
The key dilemma remains: will the court overrule its decision, or will we face louder protests?