Among your activities for International Women’s Day this year, we urge you to take action – if possible a safe-distancing protest in front of the Polish Embassy in your capital city – to show solidarity with Polish women, for whom access to a safe, legal abortion from the Polish healthcare service has all but disappeared. There will be public action in Poland on 8 March.
Here is a slightly shortened text and visuals for social media from Polish Women’s Strike’s and their Manifesto for 8 March, which you are welcome to share:
Polish Women’s Strike: Manifesto
“We, women of Europe, will not be silent.
For more than a decade, extremist and xenophobic sentiments have grown stronger in Europe. Extremists are already at the helm in countries such as Poland and Hungary, where they violate civil rights and erode democracy and descend into authoritarianism. In other countries, similar extremism also exists.
The extremists in Poland have decided to torture Polish women by forcing them to carry pregnancies with fatal fetal defects to term, only to watch the baby die after only a few pain-filled days.
Why? In the name of a radical interpretation of religious teachings, forced upon all Polish women, tossing aside compassion, human dignity and the right to self-determination.
In 2021, in a Poland within the European Union, this is the government’s proposal rather than psychological support or state aid for bringing up disabled children for families with disabled children who in many cases live in poverty.
Since the ban on abortion, Polish women have taken to the streets in peaceful mass protests. However, the Polish authorities have responded with police beatings, tear-gas, arrest, and intimidation of the women protesters while the government media denounce them as murderers and psychopaths.
Now is a time for concrete action. Expressions of indignation are not enough. We Europeans are a Union of values, not just a community of interests.
We Europeans, sisters of Polish women, demand full women’s rights – the right to safe termination of pregnancy – the right to sexuality education – the right to dignity – and the right to be respected.
Today, Poland has become a hell for women, tomorrow it may be other countries if we don’t rise up.”
Alongside the state violence of unsafe abortion, the Polish government supports domestic violence against women too
The Polish government has not stopped at banning abortion. They indicated as early as July 2020 that the next set of rights and protections afforded by the state to women that they intend to remove include protection against violence and domestic violence. To remove this protection, however, they must first withdraw their ratification of the “Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence” (usually called the Istanbul Convention). Meanwhile they apparently plan to try to pass a law or regulation exempting any first act of domestic violence from prosecution.
The Istanbul Convention is a European document that provides a framework for legal prevention of all forms of violence against women at the European level, as well as for the prevention, prosecution and elimination of violence against women and domestic violence. The Convention also provides a special monitoring mechanism to ensure that its provisions are effectively implemented by the parties that have ratified it. By 2020, it had been signed by 45 countries and the European Union, and had been ratified by 34 countries, including Poland.
SOURCE: Polish Women’s Strike email, 1 March 221 ;