Yesterday thousands of women went on strike in 60 Polish cities in protest against a plan to ban abortion. Marching through the streets of cities including Warsaw, Kraków, Gdańsk and Wrocław, most wore black as an emblem of mourning, with the day being dubbed “Black Monday”.
Protests were also held across Europe in solidarity with Polish women, including in Kiev, Brussels, Paris, London and Berlin.
The proposed law, which is supported by the Catholic Church and has passed the first reading stage in the Polish parliament (Sejm), would see a total ban on abortion imposed. Women found to have had abortions would face a five-year prison term, while doctors charged with facilitating an abortion could also face imprisonment.
Abortion legislation in Poland is already fairly restrictive, with abortion only permitted when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, when the foetus is seriously malformed, or when the woman's life is endangered by the continuation of the pregnancy.
Those opposed to the planned legislation argue that it may lead to women who have suffered miscarriages being investigated, and to doctors being reluctant to carry out invasive prenatal tests.