Why Poland's Black Monday is Relevant to Us

Last week, women in Poland made international headlines as they protested against proposals that would put a total ban on abortions.  The current laws in the predominately Catholic country of Poland allow abortions in cases of damage to the fetus, danger to the mother, and conception by rape or incest.  The proposed law would only allow the procedure in cases of extreme medical danger.  This law does more than just make abortions illegal, they make them punishable by law. Any woman found to have had an abortion would be punished with a five-year prison sentence, as well as the person or doctor who performed the abortion.  This anti-abortion law is so strict and preposterous that the Catholic Church has decided that they cannot support it.  However, this draft-law created by an anti-abortion organization had already passed a big parliamentary step before the “Black Monday” protests even started.

Last Monday, women all over the country left their positions at work, school, and in the home and began marching in cities like Warsaw, Lodz, Wroclaw, Gdansk, and Krakow.  The protest got the name “Black Friday” through the all black dress code, which symbolized the mourning of women’s reproductive rights.  They carried signs and chanted sayings such as “NO to Jail for Abortions”, “Women Just Want To Have FUN-damental Rights”, and "Edukacja i antykoncepcja zamiast zakazów!" which translates to “Education and contraception, rather than bans”.

In another powerful protest move, woman held up hangers, or pictures of them, to reference the amount of unsafe and illegal abortions that will take place if a law like this is passed. The movement was so powerful that women around the world in India, Germany, Belgium, Sweden, France, the UK, America, and even Kenya were also protesting.

The protestors ultimately accomplished their goal.  The “Prawo i Sprawiedliwość,” or Law and Justice, is no longer considering making changes to Poland’s current abortion laws.  The deputy prime minister, Jaroslaw Gowin, even stated that this protest was  "food for thought and certainly taught us humility." 

Why is this important to the rest of us? It is important because we saw a massive amount of women supporting women, something we certainly don’t see enough of.  People around the world came together in solidarity with the Polish protestors and truly had a hand in making a difference in their country.  There are over 3.5 billion women in the world, and when we all get together, we can clearly accomplish some major things.