Women all over Poland went on strike to protest a bill that will completely ban abortion, even in cases or rape or incest. They effectively shut down restaurants, university classes, and access to government offices in Warsaw.
Many of the protesters marched through the streets dressed in black to represent the loss of their reproductive rights, in what will forever be etched into history as “Black Monday.” The official number of protesters is unknown but it's estimated that 6 million people joined in worldwide. That's 6 million people! Women are clearly not going to stand by passively as conservative governments chip away their human rights.
Poland already has extreme abortion laws. Women are only allowed to terminate if there's evidence of rape or incest, to protect the life of the mother, or if the fetus is seriously malformed. So for unwanted pregnancies, that are not a result of rape, women are currently forced to travel to other parts of Europe or seek out underground and possibly dangerous situations to abort.
If that isn't oppressive enough, Poland is NOW attempting to pass a law that would eliminate those exceptions. Even worse, if women are caught seeking out illegal abortions, they could face up to 5 years in prison. What a terrible day for reproductive rights.
That means if the bill passes, women will be forced to carry a pregnancy that could potentially kill them! What kind of backward shit is this?
There is light in this story, however. All around the world today, there has been an amazing demonstration of support for women's choice, as protestors took the streets in Paris, Berlin, and many other countries. Of course, there are counter protestors dressed in white to show their opposition. But the color that rippled through Poland today was black, leaving a very CLEAR message: women are not going to stand quietly as their primitive rights get taken away.
Abortion rights are human rights. The right to choose when you have kids is a vital one that is necessary for the advancement of gender equality. If we don't have the ability to choose, we are held hostage to unwanted pregnancies, terrible relationships, or fetuses that could kill us.
Abortion should be legal in all cases. These oppressive laws, passed under the name of religion, are designed solely to restrict women's mobility in this world. Clearly, women are not taking it lightly, as supporters all around the world are showing their solidarity with Polish women through the hashtag #czarnyprotest or #blackprotest
Please shout it loud and far. Banning abortion doesn't make it go away. It drives it underground. These laws are dangerous for women.
Stand with the women of Poland.
Top photo @remarksist
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Patricia is a writer, activist, and aspiring journalist. She likes writing about politics, sexuality, and feminism. She is a bit of a wanderer and has lived in Morocco, Australia, and India. Recently moved to Brooklyn, she is currently learning to navigate NYC subways.