Polish women plan strike Monday to protest abortion ban

WARSAW, Poland, Oct. 2 (UPI) — Women in Poland are planning a “warning strike” Monday to protest the government’s plan to totally ban abortions.

Female workers plan the protest to draw attention to plans to further restrict Poland’s severely limited abortion laws. On Saturday, thousands protested in Warsaw against the plan.

Known as the “black protest,” strikes are planned in more than 60 Polish cities, according to the Krakow Post. Protesters have been encouraged to wear black and post photos on social media of them striking.

Also, numerous businesses and corporations have pledged to close as part of the strike.

According to a leaflet, “We demand access to reliable sex education, contraception and effective in vitro procedures. We oppose the further tightening [of] abortion laws.”

The leaflet also notes, “The bill accepted by the Polish Parliament will threaten even more the health and freedom of women living in Poland!”

Abortion now is only permitted in cases of rape or if the woman or fetus’ life is in danger. It is backed by 74 percent of Poles according to a recent Newsweek Polska poll.

A government committee is considering changes for a total ban and women breaking the law could face up to five years in prison.

About 1,000 legal abortions are performed in Poland each year. But up to 150,000 women each year performing abortions on themselves often with pills bought online.

Stop Abortion has called for a total ban on abortions in Poland with 450,000 signatures collected. It is backed by the Catholic Church and Prime Minister Beata Szydlo.

A total of 87 percent of Polish people identify as Catholic.

The pro-choice Save Women coalition has a petition signed by 215,000 that wants women allowed to have an abortion up to the 12th week of a pregnancy.

Thousands of people decked in black clothes protested in Warsaw on Saturday against the total ban.

“A quarter of a million signatures for the modern bill have been thrown into the garbage while the project that punishes women five years in prison for having an abortion was sent for further work to the parliament’s committee. We cannot be deaf and blind. That’s why we’re here,” Dariusz Jonski from the Democratic Left Alliance party told the crowd.

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