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Winthrop High School's Premier News Site Since 2019

The Viking Times

Winthrop High School's Premier News Site Since 2019

The Viking Times

Poland’s Abortion Ban: A Direct Attack on Women’s Rights and Democracy


Image Source: The Guardian

Analise Bruno, Writer

In October of 2020, Poland’s Supreme Court ruled abortion (in cases not involving incest or risk of death) to be unconstitutional. This unfair ruling and deliberate attack on women’s rights sparked protests all over the country as hundreds of women, and male allies, went to the streets to object to the unfair prohibition. This discontent seemed to temporarily subside the ruling as the court put a halt on the ban until late Wednesday night.

In the evening hours of January 27, Poland’s supreme court imposed a near-total ban on abortion, only allowing the procedure to occur if the fetus was conceived through incest or if either mother or child’s life was at risk. The ban was quickly published in the country’s Journal of Law which is often regarded as the last step in it officially being established as a legal doctrine. Understandably, the protestors from October were just as angry, if not more, now, and once again quickly struck up protests in retaliation to the act. Women and men everywhere marched to the capital city of Warsaw halting traffic, waving red flares, propping up flags and signs supporting their cause, etc. in retaliation. Demonstrators displaying signs reading, “I think, I feel, I decide” and “Freedom of Choice Without Terror” claim they are shocked and disheartened by this ruling, and plan to continue protesting in the upcoming days until progress to overturn this bill is made. 

 What many in the states, and other countries, are wondering is what’s so controversial about this bill? After all, they are allowing the procedure to occur in some instances. Well, the problem mainly resides in how this clear lack of separation between state and church is an inherent attack on female rights in what many are calling a “War on Women.” Poland is known to be one of the most catholic and religiously devout European nations and previously had the most strict abortion laws before the new ban implementation. Less than 2,000 abortions occur annually, as copious amounts of doctors refuse to operate due to religious convictions leaving over 200,000 polish women to seek termination either abroad or illegally. 

So where does the attack on women come into play? In recent years, the controversial conversation surrounding the legality and ethics of abortion has been scrutinized quite critically and grown tremendously with new bans like that in Poland being the fire-starter to these discussions. Still, no official compromise has been reached in the interest of the lives and health of women, which is likely due in part to years of deep-rooted misogyny and illegitimate religious convictions.

It is a known fact that there is meant to be a doctrine that separates the church and religion from interfering with a matter involving the state, and vice versa. However, with many legislators now using their religious background to justify their stance on abortion, it is clear that the operation has surpassed being just a debate of ethics and politics, but now also that of faith. Furthermore, most legislators in the position of making these decisions have little to no medical backgrounds, making their entire platform of anti abortion advocacy illegitimate. Think about it, would you trust a medical professional to decide on a surgical procedure or a state legislator? This simply comes down to basic understanding in a field of study. However, in Poland’s case, even medical professionals can be biased in their judgment based on their religious standpoint which is hypocritical within itself because when doctors take the Hippocratic oath, they vow to help people, not bar them from making a choice that is in their best interests medically, financially, and ethically. 

Long strung out sentiments of misogyny and general misunderstanding surrounding the operation also contributes to its general controversy in politics and the medical field. Many feel that abortion is morally and ethically wrong, and there’s this idea that women use it as a form of birth control. Both scenarios are far from the truth for varying reasons. The majority of biologists agree that although a fetus is formed through conception, life does not begin until the onset of sentience, which is essentially an organism’s ability to feel, experience, or perceived subjectively. Furthermore, although no one owes anyone a reason behind getting an abortion, many due so for medical reasons, financial situations, inability to provide a proper home environment for the child, etc. the list goes on. With the foster care system intake on the rise in Poland and all around the world-straining resources- it seems that providing access to affordable contraception, but also abortion, should be more widespread. No matter how you may personally feel about the procedure and when life begins, there is no denying that taking away another person’s voice when making this tough decision is a direct attack on basic democracy.

The main problem with Poland’s abortion ban lies within the detriments of taking away another person’s right to choose. I feel that it does not make sense to not be pro-choice in this situation, because if you come to the decision that you do not want an abortion, you make that choice for yourself. If someone else decides differently, what gives you the right to take their decision from them? The stripping of a woman’s right to decide on a medical procedure can only bring harm. This is on direct display in Poland right now as inaccessibility to safe and legal abortions isn’t halting the procedure, it’s just increasing the rate of unsafe ones. 

With that being said, there is no doubt that this ban is not only a violation of women’s rights but also an attack on democracy because the decision made by the courts is not in the best interest of helping the lives of women. The right to make decisions about your own body should never be convoluted nor debated about, especially by those with little background in the medical field. Criminalizing and banning abortions will not only harm women consciously but also physically and financially as some will have to turn to unsafe methods of termination or deal with raising a child they may not be prepared to care for. It is 2021, there is no excuse for stripping away another woman’s  right to choice, and if Poland’s government, and the rest of the world, really have the best interest of all at heart, they will continue their advocacy to provide access to safe and legal abortions everywhere. 

*This opinion article reflects the voice of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of The Viking Times as a whole.  Like most news outlets, The Viking Times is a non-partisan media platform.**

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About the Contributor
Analise Bruno, Editor-in-Chief

Hi, my name is Analise and I am currently a senior at Winthrop High School. I am a second year member of the Newspaper Club and I currently serve as the...

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