Cultural Musings

The fight for women’s rights in Poland and America

Although my blog is not political in nature, it is connected with culture and life in Poland. I may not be a Polish woman but as a woman living in Poland, I feel that the current fight for women’s health affects not only me but also every woman living here today.

Medically-unnecessary abortions are illegal in Poland, that we know. But recently, even post-rape abortions and those necessary due to genetic conditions are up for debate. As a woman who believes in the right to choose, I find this pretty scary. As a friend of other women who have had such procedures out of necessity, I worry about the future of women’s health in Poland. We should be promoting the freedoms of women abroad, where there are lower standards of living and little in the way of women’s health, not fighting for a basic right for women in our own countries. If passed into law, this will be one massive step backwards for us and may limit our choices even further in the future. It could lead risky, illegal abortions, a decrease in access to birth control, and other vital women’s health services.

In a effort to thwart this ban, women have taken to the streets to protest and have even staged protests in churches, where priests lecture about the dangers of abortions and the lack of medical necessity in any case. It’s good to see women standing up for their rights with such tenacity here in Poland.

This is not an issue that only touches Poland. Abortion is always a hot topic in the U.S. due to the fact that it’s legal. They’re constantly trying to restrict access to it, especially in the south. As we’ve seen in America recently, the lack of access to abortions in Texas has resulted in an increase in underground abortions and late-term abortions. Despite that, I can’t imagine restricting access to post-rape abortions being a real argument there. To me, it seems like that would never happen in America, but you never know what will happen under Trump, a obvious woman-hater. If you’re not sure about that, just read this article

In other terms, Poland provides excellent social benefits for mothers and mothers-to-be. You can take sick leave from the beginning of pregnancy and maternity leave for up to one year and receive 80% of your salary, which is something completely unheard of in America. Although costly, these options ultimately make the process easier for women in Poland, which is something to be thankful for. Of course these benefits are available in an effort to increase the population, but I think some women may be afraid to get pregnant out of fear, weakening the efforts of the 500+ program, another recent controversy here in Poland.

All that said, I believe that if we could start providing all people with better sex education and access to birth control, e.g. in the U.S. where it often doesn’t exist, there would be fewer unwanted pregnancies and less of a need for abortions. If you think this is an issue which doesn’t affect you, consider the fact that we all have women of child-bearing age as friends or in our families who may be affected by this at one point or another.

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  • Reply AK 16 April 2016 at 12:04

    The main problem is, that discussion about abortion is being brought back by anti-gevernment and anti-PiS groups. The discussion about abortion is present in Poland since it partial ban. Some people, try to force full abortion ban since than, and all the partys since then (even PiS) have turned them down, or at least vote against it (when the changes reached the parliament). Now some NGO called Ordo Iuris tried again to gather singnatures for therir petition, which probably won’t be even given under consideration in parliament – becuase it would be a political death to any party who changes the existing compromise. But media such as Gazeta Wyborcza, Newsweek and feminists organization started a real havoc to convince people, that the idea of ban came from the ruling party – and it was a total jackpot, beacause they started to lose the support of their voters (if you believe the surveys). That’s the whole story. There will be no total ban on abortion in Poland – remember my words, when in few months the media will go silent about it and when they will made up another story to fight PiS.

    Sorry if my english isn’t perfect – I’m a Pole.

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 16 April 2016 at 17:12

      Hm well that’s an interesting perspective. Perhaps it won’t go through and all the better. We should move on from this issue.

      • Reply WW 21 June 2016 at 20:33

        That is exactly my opinion – and I am strong supporter of PiS.

        This whole project is a very small, very far right NGO connected to fundamentalist Catholic NGO, that has no support from neither Catholic Church nor from PiS – and PiS see that move as a trouble that may bring unwanted politic war in their midst – which is why far left is drumming so heavy about it – looking for occasion to split right wing over abortion.

        The reason why they want ban is directly educational – to tell next generation that abortion other than in extreme measures (rape, health problems) is unmoral – and they do succeed in that – for past 15 or so years new generation of Poles did accepted that free abortion is unmoral … and even if you need to ‘kombinować’ to get it – you know you did wrong.

        The whole thing which you miss is a very deep cultural differences – a deep polish society hypocrisy .. even right wing supporters want only legal ban but no hard punishment nor looking for actual women who made abortion.

    • Reply Marek 16 April 2016 at 21:17

      Doesn’t change the fact it’s PiS that wants to implement it now. And the fact that PiS is not a party worthy of governing a huge ass country like Poland (or any country, for that matter), had been proven in their 2005-2007 rule, and ever since late 2015. PO were no good, but it’s not a zero-sum game. I know PiS is the left’s enemy number one, but the left is right on this one – women’s bodies, women’s choice.

      • Reply szopen 25 May 2016 at 23:05

        No offence, but “women’s bodies, women’s choice” is an argument which can convince only the convinced. The debate is raging EXACTLY because the other side believes this is not the issues about women’s bodies, but about innocent children being murdered (I am NOT anti-abortion, actually I am pro-choice, but I am ANTI-arguments based on strawman).

  • Reply Adrian 16 April 2016 at 13:21

    I’d like to chime in into the discussion, but it needs longer elaboration.
    BTW., The Trump link is incorrect, I think you just need to remove the dot at the end of it. Trump is bashed from all sides, both left wingers and right wingers because he’s an anti-establishment candidate. I’m watching the primaries and he’s mostly winning. That’s a fact. I think America finally stops being afraid of Drumpf and starting to realize that he might be really a viable option for the President of all Americans. At least they’re considering him and listening to what that guy has to offer.

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 16 April 2016 at 16:37

      thanks for the info about the link! Changed!

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 16 April 2016 at 17:10

      Maybe Bernie Sanders is anti-establishment with his interest in reigning in Wall Street but Trump? It’s hard to be an anti-establishment billionaire. He is certainly anti-immigration, which scares me an as immigrant myself and someone who may want to move to America with my foreign spouse one day.

      • Reply Adrian 17 April 2016 at 00:47

        Well, the thing is – Trump is not against immigration. He’s against illegal immigration, and that’s a huge difference. He’s against people like especially Mexicans crossing borders illegally, selling drugs and ending up living on a welfare and that’s not an US citizen willing to come back to your land with the love of your life and I think he understands that perfectly… I think you shouldn’t be scared of neither of him nor how it would America end up having him running the office. 😀 I strongly recommend you listen to his direct interviews, what he posts on Facebook and Twitter, just without that battue coming from media. If you look at what he’s saying from a logical stand of point suddenly you realize that he does make some quite valid points. If you look at the Republican GOP debates, he’s nailing them down which can be seen right after in the polls.

        Eventually, these polls results have to come out from somewhere. There has to be something good about this man, since people are so willing to vote for a candidate who is not even a politician, hmm? 😉 Just think about it…

        • Reply Leah Morawiec 17 April 2016 at 09:59

          Adrian – Ok I’ll have to search for some of his one-on-one interviews and see if I can find something in him. I’m sure he’s demonized even further by the media so you may have a valid point there 🙂 I also don’t agree with illegal immigration – I’m just afraid that if we crack down too much on immigration it will cause problems for other immigrants as well, not just Mexicans. A friend of mine got married recently and couldn’t bring his wife back with him to the States for 9 months. Another couple I know couldn’t get a green card for 2 years. Hopefully that situation gets simpler, not more difficult.

          • Adrian 17 April 2016 at 13:47

            I knew you can do better than a regular media whistle blower! I just knew it. You’re a smart woman!

  • Reply Bezem 17 April 2016 at 22:27

    I dont know if your polish is good enough but you can check this youtube video: there is a lot of lies spreading the community about this. As a man I don’t really have a right to speak about that, but personally I think women should have right to abortion. But not like every month “coz I like to have sex without any protection”. I think abortion after rape etc should be allowed.

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 18 April 2016 at 07:32

      Well yes, I don’t think abortion should be a form of birth control either. That would be absurd. That’s why there should be proper education in this matter in order to avoid unwanted pregnancies.

  • Reply Kadewu 18 April 2016 at 20:22

    Sad, sad, sad. I see it as a creeping conservative revolution whose landmark was the restrictive 1993 anti-abortion law. Now the right wing politicians want to take it to an extreme. What happened to us Poles? I am happy to live in a free country (Belgium). Abortion, euthanasia, child adoption by gay couples – it is all legal here. Poles feel so self-righteous when they learn about the situation in Belgium, but to me it all makes perfect sense. I fear the moment I will have to go back.

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 18 April 2016 at 20:26

      Yes! thank you for this comment! The sound of reason, finally.

    • Reply szopen 25 May 2016 at 23:07

      Belgium – isn’t this a country where it is legal to euthanise a young children? Wonderful and making perfect sense.

    • Reply WW 21 June 2016 at 20:40

      “What happened to us Poles? I am happy to live in a free country (Belgium)”

      And stay there until it will get trampled by Muslims .. that maybe you will reconsider a reality of social efficiency of conservative values ..

  • Reply Dariusz 25 April 2016 at 10:59

    The fact is, that these announced changes in anti aborion law, annoyed a lot of different groups, form different political enviromements, most important – from medical authorities. I think there will be a twist sooner or later, and people will lose their trust for church, right-wing ideas full of hypocrisy. Well we are young democacy, in next elections, there wille be no execuse for absence, because it was a rainy day.

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 25 April 2016 at 12:15

      Dariusz – that’s a good point. Everyone will vote in the next elections. People just got a little too comfy this time.

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