R ecently, women in Poland went on strike to protest against the threat of a misogynistic change in law – a proposal for a total ban on abortions. In what became known as ‘Black Monday’, thousands of female citizens fearlessly took to the streets in Warsaw to demonstrate against the unjust proposition. Thankfully, the pro-choice protest was a success and it has now been announced that the total-ban was rejected by parliament.
freedom, by definition, should not have its limits.
As a member of the feminist society (FemSoc) at Exeter’s Penryn Campus, the topic of abortion and ‘Black Monday’ came up in a recent meeting’s discussion and as we talked about the issue, we casually made the comparison to the Republic of Ireland, another largely-Catholic country in Europe where abortion is still a controversial issue.
I think most of us forget that in Ireland, a place separated from us by a slim strand of water, women are threatened with imprisonment simply for demonstrating control over their own bodies, a decision that is frankly unacceptable. Everyone should be free to exercise personal autonomy; after all, freedom, by definition, should not have its limits.
Across the world, in places such as Brazil, Egypt, Bangladesh and New Zealand, there are numerous laws and varying degrees of legislation that deny women the basic right to make personal, life-changing decisions for themselves. This is of no little consequence considering that the World Health Organisation estimates that nearly 50,000 women die each year from unsafe illegal abortions.
Hopefully the demonstration in Poland will inspire leaders and law-makers around the world to reflect on their current abortion laws and acknowledge that change needs to occur. ‘Black Monday’ showed the world’s media that we will not be silenced. It’s 2016, you cannot oppress half the human race.