Worried about Roe v. Wade? Let’s Look to Poland!

Protest against abortion restrictions in Poland. Credit: Silar, CC-BY-SA 4.0 (source)

In an exciting example of how to fight against a right-wing court and its government, hundreds of thousands of Polish women took to the streets in cities all over their country in late October to defend abortion rights, to the cries of “PiS (ruling party) out of our pussies!,” “Get the fuck out” and “This is war!” PiS, which means “Law and Justice,” is the ultraconservative party that rules the country. On October 22, the constitutional court in Poland ruled it unconstitutional to have an abortion even in cases of severe fetal malformation. Thanks to the wave of massive mobilization since the announcement of the Constitutional Court’s decision, the law has been suspended for the time being. This movement calls itself “The Women’s Strike.”

The demonstrators are deliberately vulgar with their slogans, as they are organizing against the tyranny of the church. They even had the fine idea to go directly into church and disrupt mass, conducting sit-ins and shouting, “Catholics need abortions too!” and “We’ve had enough!”

As the days went by, the movement in Poland expanded its demands: the right to abortion with no restrictions, but also free access for all to health, education, especially sexual education, rights for the LGBTQ community, as well as political demands such as the independence of the Constitutional Court, the separation of church and state, and even the resignation of the government.

The U.S. Supreme Court could certainly try to take away what remains in this country of the right to an abortion, even though in 2019 a Pew Research Center poll found that 61 percent of Americans say that abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while only 28 percent believe that Roe v. Wade should be overturned. If the court does try to make such a decision against women, the women of Poland have shown us the way. Once we start moving, who knows where we will stop?