Protest outside the Polish embassy against attacks on abortion rights, 9.4.16, photo Helen Pattison

Protest outside the Polish embassy against attacks on abortion rights, 9.4.16, photo Helen Pattison   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Paul Newberry, Alternatywa Socjalistyczna (Socialist Party’s sister party in Poland)

A plan by the ruling right-wing Law and Justice party to introduce a total ban on abortion in Poland has angered a significant section of the population. It has sparked a series of large demonstrations in Warsaw and other cities as well as a spontaneous movement fighting for abortion rights involving tens of thousands of women.

Solidarity protests have also taken place outside Polish embassies around Europe, with CWI members participating and often organising the protests.

Not only are protesters opposing the introduction of a total ban, but they are also demanding the liberalisation of Poland’s already restrictive law under the slogan “Reclaim Choice”. One of the key demands of the movement is for abortion on demand.

The day after the first demonstrations on 3 April the prime minister, Beata Szydło, started to retreat, stating that she had only “expressed a personal opinion”. Rather than driving demonstrators home, this raised their confidence in their power to bend the government. A new committee, Reclaim Choice Alliance, organised a demo on 9 April outside parliament.


But while the Reclaim Choice Alliance is firm about the need to fight for full liberalisation of the law, in the much broader grassroots facebook movement, Dziewuchy Dziewuchom, there are many conflicting views about the way forward.

Alternatywa Socjalistyczna argues that to limit ourselves to only defending the status quo is a strategy that will lead to defeat. It means giving in to the pro-life arguments of the right wing and the Catholic Church without even putting up a fight.

We must explain the desperate situation of thousands and tens of thousands of women whose health and lives are put at risk by the ban. We demand full access to abortions – free abortion on demand. We also demand free and good quality healthcare for women without the possibility of doctors blocking treatment due to their so-called “religious conscience”.

Full article at