Dear Women of America - take a lesson from the solidarity of the Polish women. If you're sick and tired of seeing the local anti-abortion denomination stumping outside your Planned Parenthood, Gather yourself in numbers and protest your right to critical healthcare - regardless what they think of you.
Polish women protest in Warsaw against government plans for a complete ban of abortion. (Janek Skarzynski/AFP via Getty Images)
LONDON — Women all over Poland went on strike Monday to protest the government's plans for a total ban on abortions. It was unclear how many women participated nationally, but organizers estimated that up to 6 million women joined in the protest, according to news reports.
Some protesters wore black clothes as they marched through the streets on "Black Monday." There were counter-demonstrations, as well, with antiabortion protesters marching in white clothes to distinguish themselves from their ideological opponents.
Poland's abortion laws are already among Europe's strictest. Women are allowed to have an abortion only if the pregnancy is due to incest or rape, or if the life of the pregnant woman or the fetus is under threat.
Under the proposal, even those exceptions would no longer exist. Women choosing an abortion illegally would face five years behind bars. Doctors could be sentenced to prison if found guilty of helping with or performing abortions.
The proposal is supported by the country's Catholic Church, and the right-wing government has cleared a first parliamentary hurdle.
But human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International, have harshly criticized the plans,calling them "a dangerous backward step for women and girls in Poland." Critics say they also fear that women having miscarriages would automatically be placed under investigation.