Thousands of women gathered on Monday, wearing black and weaving black flags and black umbrellas overhead to protest a proposed ban on abortion.
Abortion is already illegal in Poland except in rape, incest, danger to the mother’s life or irreparable damage to a fetus. But the legislature is now proposing an absolute ban. That means all abortions will be illegal even in cases of rape or when the woman’s life is at risk, with prison terms of up to five years for women seeking abortion and doctors who perform them.
In response to the proposal, Polish women and some men went on strike Monday, boycotting work and school in Warsaw, Gdansk, Wroclaw and across the country, according to the AP.
A professor of gender studies at Warsaw University told the National Catholic Reporter earlier this summer that in addition to criminalizing all abortions, the proposed change in the law could also cause women to be imprisoned for a miscarriage if they couldn’t prove it was not induced. Miscarriages could lead to a prison term of up to three years, Elzbieta Korolczuk told the publication.
They held posters emblazoned with the message: “A government is not like a pregnancy – it can be terminated.”