Eastern European solidarity in the wake of Poland’s Black Protest
In their article ‘Poles Refuse to Put a Good Face on a Bad Game,’ Krystyna Kacpura and Anka Grzywacz recount some of the most recent events concerning the history of fighting for women’s sexual and reproductive rights in Poland. On October 3, women across the country went on strike, boycotting work and school in order to take part in protests against a proposed abortion ban. As prochoice actors in Croatia, it was very empowering and moving to see such mass mobilization in Poland—in solidarity with Polish women, we also protested in Zagreb.
Being ex-communist, historically Catholic countries of Eastern Europe with a majority of population that still identifies as Catholic, both Poland and Croatia have similar backgrounds. Although abortion in Croatia is legal, it is often inaccessible in practice due to hospitals’ denial of abortion on the grounds of conscientious objection. Given the pending revision of the Law on Abortion of 1978 before the Constitutional Court, it seems that in our country more retrogressive measures are underway. Furthermore, policymakers are being influenced by church-afilliated organizations that advocate for restrictive abortion laws and oppose women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Despite the success of Black Monday protests, the battle on abortion is far from over in Poland. The same goes for Croatia. In spring 2017, the Constitutional Court will reach a decision on the constitutionality of the Law on Abortion, 26 years after a motion was filed to review it.
Coordinator of CESI–Centre for Education, Counselling and Research