Polish Women’s Strike (Ogólnopolski Strajk Kobiet)

Today – on 28 October 2020 – Polish Women’s Strike (Ogolnopolski Strajk Kobiet) is taking place. You can definitely see a lot of campaigns related to it. All Poles are mobilized to take a day off, close their business, cancel classes and planned activities. Many companies give a day off to their teams too. Activities are planned in every Polish city and smaller towns. Social media are supporting messaging and coordination of events. Main slogans appearing are „Choice – not ban”, “This is war”, No Women – no Country”, hashtag #Women’sHell with red paint and lightning symbol.

This is the seventh day of demonstrations after, on 22 October 2020, the Polish Constitutional Tribunal ruled that abortions in a situation in which prenatal examinations or other medical conditions indicate that a high probability of a severe and irreversible fetal defect or an incurable illness that threatens the fetus’ life are unconstitutional, effectively banning abortion in Poland, even for medical reasons.

The ground of the protest and frustration is that the ruling fully ignores the rights of women, including their right to dignity and personal freedom. Therefore, it undermines the values of a modern democratic society and the rule of law. The ruling means that pregnant women in case of diagnosed prenatal diseases are obliged to give a birth, which causes enormous suffering, mental trauma, effectively putting her life at risk. It is considered inhuman and humiliating treatment that violates fundamental human rights.

Another aspect of the ruling and on-going demonstration is the context of the ruling which was processed by the Tribunal instead of proper parliament process, without any form of public discussion and social debate, also without obtaining any opinion from doctors and medical specialists. It was done unexpectedly during the COVID-19 pandemic which is seen as highly manipulative and dubious.