Last year in Poland, there were 1812 legal abortions performed in a country with a population just under 40 million. A woman may seek abortion in cases of rape, serious threat to the life/health of the mother, or severe birth defect. That’s how it is supposed to work under the so-called compromise between the church and the state, and apparently it did work in 1812 cases last year.
I am personally aware of a case where it didn’t work – of the woman who was denied an abortion not because it was illegal, but because she couldn’t find a hospital or doctor to perform it. But that is neither here nor there.
I think the current law is pretty restrictive. I’ve seen Pro-Life protesters on the street in Poland and always wondered what they were protesting exactly. It’s practically illegal, right? What more could they want? A total ban on abortion?
Yes. A total ban on abortion.
The proposal, still in project form, for a total ban on abortion has been sent to the Polish parliament.
I’m not Pro-Abortion. I’m Anti-Unwanted Pregnancy. I support sexual health education and access to birth control in order to reduce unwanted pregnancies. That doesn’t do anything for the cases outlined above, but it’s my position nonetheless. I remember those Sex Ed. classes in school and the realization that the 15-year-old boy next to me didn’t know the urethra from the vagina, never mind the clitoris and never mind birth control. That wasn’t his problem.
So on Sunday I decided to join the protest against this proposal. I feel it’s my civic duty. We protested. We shouted. We clapped. We took our obligatory protest selfie. We crossed our fingers for the future of women in Poland.
On Sunday, priests in Poland read out the church’s position on the matter during mass. Across Poland, some parishioners walked out of church in protest. For the most part, this was a silent protest without incident. In one church, there was a loud exchange and hands were laid on one of the protesters.
And that’s it so far. Ms. Beata Szydło, the Polish Prime Minister, said on Monday that it wasn’t even a topic of discussion in Poland although a few days before she declared that she supports a total abortion ban. It’s not even a bill yet, that’s true. A bill is a law before it is signed, before it becomes a law. But when should we protest? After it’s a done deal?
As I was perusing my Facebook wall Monday morning, you know, as you do, I noticed a post about the protests in English. It was pretty standard, pretty much what I’ve written above. It was the comment section below the article that caught my eye – comments showing that the commenters had not even read the article and did not understand the current law or the proposed changes. There was even one saying that the protests hadn’t actually taken place, that it was all a media manipulation. And that’s where I made a mistake. I commented. For the last two days, I have been suffering through what can only be described as “hate”. I’ve been bombarded with private messages…and I’ve learned a lot about myself. First of all, I am a whore, bitch, baby-killing murderer. I don’t actually live in Poland. I do live in Poland, and I have a secret agenda to liberate Polish women (that one’s inadvertently humorous). I am funded by the EU to create abortion mills in Poland for the profit of Big Pharma. And the not so funny threats to my children. Not cool, not cool at all. But on the bright side, I finally figured out how to use my blocking settings.
bitowoApril 5, 2016 at 10:23 pm
i suppose your children would be killed if weapon were legal. Both extreme right-wing and left-wing are wrong. It's dissapointing me. Polish law about abortion is in my opinion one of the best in the world. It allow to abort pregnancy in those cases which you wrote in the text, but didnt give permision to kill people. Every year 45 million people in the world are killed by aportion, because aportion law is too liberal.
UnknownApril 6, 2016 at 12:08 am
Thank God Poland is going in the direction it is… a nation that liberally kills it's own utterly defenceless children has no moral conscience whatsoever. The countless millions upon millions worldwide who have never drawn breath, been cherished or loved are a frightening testament against recent and current generations.
UnknownApril 6, 2016 at 4:25 am
I'm Polish, but I live in California, I don't even plan to go back to live in Poland, but I'm still ashamed that the bill banning abortion completely is even considered in 21st century in an European country! I stand there with you Chris, pro sex Ed, access to birth control. I can't grasp my mind around the idea of forcing women to give birth to children that will never make it (due to fatal disabilities), to carry pregnancies that might lead to life threatening conditions or not to give a rape victim a choice…
ChrisApril 6, 2016 at 5:34 am
bitowo- I'm quite liberal as you probably know by know and feel the law is too restrictive. But even so, I was surprised that some conservatives found it to be too liberal for them. I found the current law satisfactory. I think it was a good middle ground between us.
Tracy Leszczynski- I do not feel that Poland is going in the right direction and not only in this case.
Magda M. – Thank you for your supportive words all the way from sunny California.
UnknownApril 6, 2016 at 1:26 pm
This comment has been removed by the author.
JoyApril 6, 2016 at 7:04 am
Agghhh…all these laws restricting women's rights just drive me crazy! And I'm sorry to hear all the hate msgs you received. People are stupid. I really hate to see what's been changing in Poland since we left last year. But if Dump Trump is elected, things could head this way in the U.S. too. Why do white men always think they know best about a women's vagina or reproductive organs? 🙁
UnknownApril 6, 2016 at 1:12 pm
What about the baby's rights? Oh…it's just a bundle of cells right?
PaulineApril 6, 2016 at 10:15 am
Thank you for this post! Thank you for fighting for good of this country even some can call you foreigner 🙂 I think we need more inteligent people who can use their brain and make their own mind, not affected by church, marketing etc. Things going on in Poland now are simply crazy… Could write more and more but you know 🙂 I'm with you!
bitowoApril 6, 2016 at 11:22 am
some more content about abortion(in polish)
-situation in Poland in 2014
-some Catholic point of view – year 1991 (in polish)
my point of view
Kinga's photo is unsure when we talk about illegal abortion. I think that illegal abortion number is higher than in reality. It's impossible to check. Even if ~50 thousand pregnancies were aborted, most of them were done because 2 "retard" didnt use contraception or use it wrongly. Generaly no having knowledge or/and stupidity of people.
quotation tells enought about itself.
"Anomalia społeczna, jaką jest masowe przerywanie ciąży, domaga się uregulowania, jednakże wywieranie nacisków na ciała ustawodawcze w celu wprowadzenia surowych przepisów prawnych i karnego ścigania winnych nie należy do obowiązków Kościoła chrześcijańskiego. Forsowanie rozstrzygnięcia problemu na drodze ustawy antyaborcyjnej oznacza klęskę Kościoła jako siły moralnej. Chrystus nie przyszedł wszak sądzić i karać, lecz ratować ludzi przed złem. Kościół powinien więc kierować się również w tej sprawie ewangeliczną zasadą miłości bliźniego."
bitowoApril 6, 2016 at 11:58 am
I made a mistake > 2 "retards"
People didnt learn that sexual education and responsibility for children are the best solutions to limit abortion and unwanted pregnancies. Abortion law will never stops "bloodlust" untill people take responsibility for own decisions. Teaching a morality is harder than killing, but gives better results. Law should be something like protection for people. I explain what i mean. Just imagine you know a boy who had killed parents and he wants a revenge. Law should "tell" to him "don't do it because you go to jail and its not worth to killing people". I am not a fanatically conservative person like Terlikowski or Czesław Hoc.
read what Czesław Hoc said and you understand what means fanatical conservatie people.
ChrisApril 6, 2016 at 1:59 pm
Thanks Joy and Pauline for your support. I appreciate it.
bitowo- I didn't raise the issue of the abortions performed in situations that the law doesn't allow. It happens and we all know it, however, verifiable data is impossible to find.
Tracy Leszczynski- I don't agree with your opinions on abortion or on the future of Poland. On the topic of atheism, you are ill-informed.
dsApril 6, 2016 at 7:43 pm
thank you Chris. I would join the protesters if I were in Poland.
EdytaApril 7, 2016 at 1:47 am
Law should be established between government and it's people. One country one law.
Involvement of the church in this manner should be totally banned, it's inappropriate and straight out wrong. We all have different
Believes and need to be respectful of that. Poland, please don't swipe everything under Roman Catholic rug.
Hopefuly the outcome will be satisfactory to most citizens.
ChrisApril 7, 2016 at 11:02 am
Edyta, let's hope. I love how you described it – under the Roman Catholic rug.
AnonymousApril 8, 2016 at 6:48 pm
I knew you'd get grief from polish pro-lifers to your post. Sigh.
It's ironic that the country that screamed so loudly in protests against primitive Muslim immigrants has laws that are more regressive and repressive than the countries where these immigrants come from!
Poland used to be known as the nation of Solidarity, a nation that began the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Today it's known as the theocracy of Europe harking it back to the 15th century.
Dorota in Colorado
ChrisApril 9, 2016 at 11:38 am
Hi Dorota. Most of my friends in America couldn't find Poland on the map and don't really care what goes on here, but this week just about everybody sent me a message asking what's going on in this country. I responded that our Trump won 😉 I got some terrible private messages via Facebook including death threats and conspiracy theories, some from fictitious accounts but most from their personal profiles. I can see their pictures, in some cases where they work, their phone number, their kid's first day of school. It was really shocking for me that some smiling person pictured with their grandkids at church would send me a death threat. And it's not very Christian of them either.The conversation continues here http://kielbasastories.blogspot.com/2015/09/me-hypocrite.html.
AnonymousApril 9, 2016 at 5:03 pm
Just read "the conversation." My hat's off to you. I wouldn't have had the patience.
Dorota in Colorado
MeApril 10, 2016 at 5:35 pm
Całkiem możliwe jest, że afera o zdelegalizowanie i penalizację aborcji jest sztucznie wywołana, żeby przykryć działanie mające na celu umożliwienie kościołowi (i tylko jemu) przejmowanie, "odzyskiwanie" i sprzedawanie ziemi. Rolnikom (i nie tylko) ma się utrudnić, jeśli nie uniemożliwić, swobodne dysponowanie swoją ziemią, a w zamian tego ułatwić zapisywanie ziemi kościołowi, którą ten będzie mógł łatwo spieniężyć.
ChrisApril 10, 2016 at 6:39 pm
Dorota – I did my best to stay calm.
Me – Based on the reaction of local farmers, they seemed to be riled up. They're worried long term about the future of their land, and short term about the purchases they were planning. They're also concerned about people like me who have a small holding of farm land that is farmed, but are not technically farmers. They don't have nice things to say about the church and call it a blatant land grab. Perhaps it is a matter of look over here to distract from what's going on. It's already in effect, isn't it?
AnonymousApril 11, 2016 at 12:56 pm
I think Tracy is a computer virus. An extremely malicious one.
Shame on the haters, Chris – what Poland needs right now is a very loud voice of reason. I'm shaken by what's going on in there and it terrifies me to think I could still be living in Poland. I have no intention of ever going back, having spent too many years in a liberal country, that doesn't have a serious need to discuss abortion bans and gay marriages cause they're legal.
Kasia in Edinburgh