Police in Poland detained seven people for violence after five police officers were injured Monday during nation-wide pro-abortion protests, according to Radio Poland.
The Black Protest, organized by abortion activists on Monday, encouraged Polish women to strike from work or school and wear black to protest a new pro-life bill that would protect unborn babies’ lives by banning all abortions.
Violence broke out at the pro-abortion protest in Poznan in western Poland. Radio Poland reports five police officers were injured and three people were detained for throwing rocks at a conservative Law and Justice Party office building. Two police officers sustained moderate injuries: One was hit in the face with a stone, and another was burned by a flare, according to the report. Three others sustained minor injuries.
Police in Warsaw also detained four men who threw objects at police during the protest on Monday, ABC News reports. The report did not indicate whether any police officers were injured in that incident.
At one point in Warsaw, abortion activists also blocked access to the Law and Justice Party headquarters, Reuters reported.
According to the Washington Post, the crowd in Warsaw was estimated at between 17,000 and 30,000. Pro-abortion organizers said there were up to 116,000 participants nationwide. The black clothing was supposed to signify mourning for women losing their reproductive rights to abort their unborn children.
“This is a barbarian proposal that will move Poland back to medieval times,” abortion activist Barbara Nowacka told the New York Times. “The worst thing is that this barbarity finds approval in the eyes of those in power.”
Here’s more from the report:
Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski dismissed the protesters, saying, “Let them have their fun.”
“There is no such problem as a threat to women’s rights,” he said in an interview with a private radio station, RMF-FM. “If someone thinks that there are no greater concerns in Poland at the moment, let them be.”
The protests have won the approval of numerous Polish employers, including restaurant owners, museum and gallery directors, the deans of several universities and mayors of a couple of large cities, all of whom allowed their female workers to take a day off.
Pro-lifers held their own counter-protests on Monday by wearing white and drawing attention to unborn babies’ lives. Many attended special Catholic Masses in support of the pro-life legislation.
“I wonder if any of the protesters wondered what adults with Down syndrome feel when they understand the protests against them,” one pro-lifer wrote on Twitter in Polish with the hashtag #Bialyprotest, or white protest.
The new citizen-led pro-life bill, which has wide support from the public and several leading government officials, would prohibit all 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.
On Sept. 23, Polish Members of Parliament voted 267 to 154 to move the “Stop Abortion” legislation forward for further review in committee.
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 pro-life bill has strong support from the Polish people. Almost half a million citizens signed the citizen-led pro-life 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 pushing the country to stop protecting unborn babies’ lives and expand its legalization of abortions.
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.