Interview: Daria Suharchuk
"Black Monday" was held in Poland on October 3 - a mass action, the participants of which are protesting against the complete ban on abortion in the country. The women boycotted work and study and, dressed in black, took to the streets. Tens of thousands of people gathered in the squares of the country's big cities, despite the cold and rain. In Warsaw, more than 20 thousand people came to the central square (according to the organizers - 30 thousand), many came with children and dogs. The day before, protests were held in other cities around the world - women from other countries also dressed in black and came to the Polish embassies to show solidarity with the protesters.
“Black Monday” is a continuation of the #CzarnyProtest (“Black Protest”) campaign launched by Polish users on social networks. Now abortion in Poland is allowed only with the consent of two medical specialists - in cases where there is a danger to the mother's life or if the pregnancy was the result of rape. If the ban goes into effect, any deliberate termination of pregnancy will become illegal: women who have an abortion will face up to five years in prison, just like the doctors who performed the procedure. Critics of the law point out that women whose pregnancies ended in miscarriage will have to prove that they did not have an abortion.
Protesters in Poland are not going to stop at one action - a new one is scheduled for October 9th. We spoke with five women from Poland who took part in the protest and their sympathizers.
35 years old (name changed at the request of the heroine)
I believe that the law that we have now is not even a compromise, it is a ban that does not give women any right to choose. There were protests even when the current law was introduced, and what the parliament is trying to carry out now is just madness. The law should leave women the right to choose. I was unable to take part in today's strike, and my employer forbids us to give interviews on political topics, but I sincerely support those who came out to the square today, and would like to go there myself.
The state has no right to deprive women of their freedom of choice. We do not force anyone to have an abortion - we stand for a choice. The new law takes away this choice. I would like the law to be changed to a more liberal one, but I even agree to accept the "compromise" option that we still have. Now a woman cannot do anything, even if the embryo has very serious genetic abnormalities and it still dies a few days after birth. It is cruel to force women to give birth to children who will die right away anyway. If they themselves make this choice, it is their business, but there must be a choice. There is nothing immoral about a woman refusing to give birth to such a child. So far, I cannot even talk about any other details of the law, such as mandatory waiting and the like. I just don't want to allow abortion to be outright banned. According to the current Polish law, a woman cannot have an abortion anyway simply because she does not want this child - she can terminate a pregnancy only if she was raped or if there is a threat to her life or the life of the child. For me, this is an absurdity, unacceptable in a modern state.
For some reason, many people think that the women who came out today to protest are in favor of abortion. We don't really want this - we want the right to choose. Being free to control your body is one of the basic human rights. I believe that it is important to have this choice, and no one has the right to interfere with a person's decision - especially the church. This problem has brought many people together. I do not understand why many women oppose the right to abortion - it seems to me that they simply did not understand the issue well enough.If a woman becomes pregnant, it is her business, not the church; and the fact that the church takes such a position has alienated many from it.
The law that operates in our country now is one of the most severe, there is nowhere to be stricter. But every case is different, and every woman should have a choice. I know that some girls hang out at parties and then get pregnant and see abortion as the solution to the problem. This is very irresponsible; I think we need sex education. What was taught to us was just silly and very old-fashioned: "Boys and girls meet, blah blah blah …". Instead of prohibiting abortion, it is necessary to introduce correct sex education.
Our politicians like to show that they care about unborn children, but as soon as a child is born, they immediately forget about it. Child benefits are scanty - PLN 500 per child. At the same time, single mothers are not given any money - but it seems to me that it should be the other way around, that money should be given to those who need it most. Our state says that in this way it is fighting abortion, but in reality it is just spending money. Today there are a lot of guys from my school on the square in front of the PiS party headquarters, we all missed lessons. And at school they wore black all week.
23 years old
I came here telling my boss that I was sick. My friend was supposed to start a new job today at our law office, but instead she is here with me. We just couldn't help but come. This new law is completely inhuman, it does not solve anything, and it should not be adopted. We would really like to see more liberal laws, like in other countries.
We came with a large group of friends, we will try to find each other in the square. By the way, one of us fled from work in secret - her boss supports a conservative policy. But his firm employs almost all women, and they disagree with him. It will be interesting to see how many people will end up not coming to work under various pretexts. We are very glad that so many women from other countries support us. Thank them very much!
Today I came here with my son - let him look. My boss let me go; I work for a non-profit organization, and I didn't even have to specifically ask for permission. I am satisfied with the law that we have, but I do not want abortion to be completely banned, as the new law suggests. I am not a supporter of abortion, and it would be better if there were none, but still you cannot completely take away the right to choose from a person. I don't want abortions to be done quickly and easily - but you can't force people to give birth. Let women give birth to children when they want. I myself have three children, and I am happy. But this was my conscious choice - I gave birth to them when I wanted, and not when I was forced.