Abortion activists in Poland are urging women to strike on Monday to protest a bill that would protect unborn babies’ right to life by banning all abortions.
The Independent reports the Polish abortion activists hope to cripple the nation’s economy with their strike on Monday. In coordination with the strike, the organizers are planning to hold pro-abortion protests in Krakow and other cities across Europe.
The strong Catholic country already prohibits most abortions. In Poland, abortion is legal in cases of rape and incest, the life or health of the mother or severe fetal deformities – though “severe” is widely defined and unborn babies with Down syndrome and other disabilities have been legally aborted under the current law.
The new citizen-led bill, which has strong support from the public and several leading government officials, would prohibit abortions except when the mother’s life is in jeopardy. The bill would criminalize abortion for causing the “death of a conceived child.” Doctors who do abortions and women who have them could face jail time of up to five years.
Last week, Polish Members of Parliament voted 267 to 154 to move the “Stop Abortion” legislation forward for further review in committee.
“We are very pleased to see such a strong vote for life, especially since members know they will be facing economic threats from the European Union,” said Ewa Kowalewska, director of Human Life International Poland. “With this vote you see the heart of the Polish people, since MPs were allowed to vote their conscience.”
Almost half a million Polish citizens signed the citizen-led bill, and a recent poll found that 58 percent of Poles support a ban on abortions, according to The Wall Street Journal. Pro-lifers are hopeful that the bill will become law; however, pro-abortion groups, the United Nations and others are working against the life-saving legislation.
Pro-abortion leaders organizing the #czarnyprotest, or black protest, said a number of businesses plan to close on Monday to participate in the strike. Abortion activists also want women to wear black and post photos of themselves on social media on Monday, the Krakow Post reports.
“Black protest in defense of the right to life and health of women in Poland,” a pro-abortion leaflet reads. “We demand access to reliable sex education, contraception and effective in vitro procedures. We oppose the further tightening abortion laws.”
The pro-life bill began gaining attention last winter after a horrific story came to light about a late-term baby who allegedly was born alive after a failed abortion attempt at a Warsaw hospital and screamed for an hour as it was left to die. Some news outlets reported that the baby may have been aborted because of Down syndrome, but that was not confirmed.
Two leading government officials support the pro-life legislation. Prime Minister Beata Szydlo told Radio Poland that she supports the citizen bill, and Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of the ruling Law and Justice Party in Poland, said he plans to follow Catholic leaders’ call to pass the measure. The Law and Justice party also has been supporting increased government spending on programs to help children and their families, according to Polish news reports.
Catholic leaders have been among the most vocal advocates for the legislation. In April, Polish priests read a statement from the pulpit in support of the bill, LifeNews reported.
“Catholics’ position on this is clear, and unchangeable. One needs to protect every person’s life from conception to natural death,” the Polish bishops said in the statement. “We ask the lawmakers and the government to initiate the legislation.”