Tuesday, April 5, 2016

What's all the hubbub? Abortion Law in Poland

Last year in Poland, there were 1812 legal abortions performed in a country with a population just under 40 million. A woman may seek abortion in cases of rape, serious threat to the life/health of the mother, or severe birth defect. That's how it is supposed to work under the so-called compromise between the church and the state, and apparently it did work in 1812 cases last year.

I am personally aware of a case that didn't work - of the woman who was denied an abortion not because it was illegal, but because she couldn't find a hospital or doctor to perform it. But that is neither here nor there.

I think the current law is pretty restrictive. I've seen Pro-Life protesters on the street in Poland and always wondered what they were protesting exactly. It's practically illegal, right? What more could they want? A total ban on abortion? 

Yes. A total ban on abortion.

The proposal, still in project form, for a total ban on abortion has been sent to the Polish parliament. 

I'm not Pro-Abortion. I'm Anti-Unwanted Pregnancy. I support sexual health education and access to birth control in order to reduce unwanted pregnancies. That doesn't do anything for the cases outlined above, but it's my position nonetheless. I remember those Sex Ed. classes in school and the realization that the 15-year-old boy next to me didn't know the urethra from the vagina, nevermind the clitoris and nevermind birth control. That wasn't his problem.  

So on Sunday I decided to join the protest against this proposal. I feel it's my civic duty. We protested. We shouted. We clapped. We took our obligatory protest selfie. We crossed our fingers for the future of women in Poland.

On Sunday, priests in Poland read out the church's position on the matter during mass. Across Poland, some parishioners walked out of church in protest. For the most part, this was a silent protest without incident. In one church there was a loud exchange and hands were laid on one of the protesters.

And that's it so far. Ms. Beata Szydło, the Polish Prime Minister, said on Monday that it wasn't even a topic of discussion in Poland although a few days before she declared that she supports a total abortion ban. It's not even a bill yet, that's true. A bill is a law before it is signed, before it becomes a law. But when should we protest? After it's a done deal? 

As I was perusing my Facebook wall Monday morning, you know, as you do, I noticed a post about the protests in English. It was pretty standard, pretty much what I've written above. It was the comment section below the article that caught my eye - comments showing that the commenters had not even read the article and did not understand the current law or the proposed changes. There was even one saying that the protests hadn't actually taken place, that it was all a media manipulation. And that's where I made a mistake. I commented. For the last two days, I have been suffering through what can only be described as "hate". I've been bombarded with private messages...and I've learned a lot about myself. First of all, I am a whore, bitch, baby killing murderer. I don't actually live in Poland. I do live in Poland, and I have a secret agenda to liberate Polish women (that one's inadvertently humorous). I am funded by the EU to create abortion mills in Poland for the profit of Big Pharma. And the not so funny threats to my children. Not cool, not cool at all. But on the bright side, I finally figured out how to use my blocking settings.