Polish women strike against what could be most restrictive abortion laws in Europe

Women in Poland have gone on strike in protest to proposed laws that would make abortion basically illegal. Legislators have proposed eliminating the country’s existing exceptions on abortion (in cases of rape or incest, or if the woman’s or fetus’ life is in danger), and making getting an abortion punishable by five years in prison.

Today, throughout Poland, women are striking from work and house care and taking to the streets dressed in black. Women in cities like Berlin, Edinburgh, and Kiev are also dressing in black, marching, and tweeting in solidarity.


According to Radio Poland, the proposed legislation was launched by a citizens initiative called Stop Abortion and has already passed one hurdle in parliament. If passed, the laws would be among the most restrictive in Europe.

“They want to introduce an anti-abortion law which will mean in many cases, women will be sentenced to death. It will take away the sense of security they have, the treatment options available when pregnancy puts their lives or health in danger,” one protester told the BBC.

In 2010, Reuters reported that Polish women were increasingly seeking abortions abroad, and that illegal abortions were incredibly common in the country. These proposed laws would likely make both of those practices all the more common.

And lest you think this is something that could only happen in a Catholic country, the laws Mike Pence passed in Indiana (which resulted in Purvi Patel being sentenced to 20 years in prison for a miscarriage) are nearly as restrictive.

Jaya Saxena

Jaya Saxena

Jaya Saxena is a lifestyle writer and editor whose work focuses primarily on women's issues and web culture. Her writing has appeared in GQ, ELLE, the Toast, the New Yorker, Tthe Hairpin, BuzzFeed, Racked, Eater, Catapult, and others. She is the co-author of 'Dad Magazine,' the author of 'The Book Of Lost Recipes,' and the co-author of 'Basic Witches.'