“In anti-abortion Poland, being a woman is a tragedy.” But now comes the condemnation of the European Parliament

It seems a silent protest that of the women in memory of Izabela, the thirty-year-old Polish woman who, hospitalized in a hospital in Pszczyna, died of infection after a denied abortion. On the other hand, it is not silent at all. The streets of Warsaw and Krakow, but also of the smaller towns, were filled with a crowd every day more numerous, ready to lash out against the decision of the High Court of 2020, then passed by the sovereign government of Andrei Duda on January 27 2021, which prohibits abortion even in the event of a malformation of the fetus. Adult women, girls, boys and men of all ages to say enough to these continuing restrictions on rights. And the outburst on social media is very hard. Comments such as “please stop killing innocent people who just want happiness” or even “And now they will get acquittal and have a clear conscience” are read, referring to the medical staff of Pszczyna hospital. Under the hashtag “# anijednejwięcej”, which in Italian means # nonunadipiù, all the women of Poland gather with lighted candles in the windows. But the red lightning bolt that represents the protests of “Ogólnopolski Strajk Kobiet”, the movement that defends women’s rights, is stronger than before and more compact and is already moving for a great sign of dissent. It is enough to look at the photos of the last few days to understand that civil society around the world has reacted to this violence and to the increasingly close relationship that the fanatical sects, linked to the Polish Catholic Church, have formed with the Duda government.

Lights on in the squares of Berlin, Paris, London, Rome with NonUnaDiMeno and many people demonstrating. Having no territorial borders, in fact, abortion is a right for which women must constantly fight everywhere. As early as 2012, we have news first of a thirty-one-year-old Indian woman, Savita Halappanavar, who died in Dublin, then of Valentina Milluzzo, who died of the same decision of the doctors in 2016. “Today” is the case of Izabela. But how many do we not know their path?

In Poland, political orientation has something to do with it, but only in part, and many Catholic families now find it difficult to support the decisions of the Polish High Court and the sovereign government headed by Andrzej Duda.

In Jędrzejów, a city north of Krakow, live both Martyna and Elzbieta, two young women furious at the decisions taken by the government but at the same time frightened by an uncertain fate. “I think I’m a strong and courageous woman” – Elzbieta, a convinced feminist tells us – “but at the same time intimidated and sad due to the turn of events and the fault of men in suits who want to control us, to submit us to their vision to be the masters of all. Being a woman in Poland is a tragedy and I cry every time I watch the news ». As if it were now an ineluctable destiny, in which a woman can do nothing in the face of the irrevocable prohibition of termination of pregnancy. “I think there are gynecologists in Poland who can advise and support, but there aren’t enough. Everyone is afraid of the legal consequences, and if you get pregnant you will simply have to give birth, no matter if the baby is healthy or unable to live more than two days, if you have money and conditions to raise a child, a job, a partner, if you don’t end up under a bridge. You have to give birth and the rest is not important. This is why I don’t want to become a mother ».

Stories like those of Martyna and Elzbieta are many, too many, women forced to go to the Czech Republic in order to have an abortion. Girls who have been left with trauma both due to the refusal by doctors to practice termination of pregnancy, and for that trip that they will remember for life.
But the European Parliament did not stand by and voted by majority vote on a report condemning the law that severely limits pregnancy loss, condemning the Polish Constitutional Court and asking the Warsaw government to fully allow legal, safe and free abortions. In the report, the European parliamentarians also urged the other countries of the European Union to guarantee transnational access to abortion services.
Meanwhile, on the occasion of the International Day of Safe Abortion (28 September), the Belgian ministry of health together with the association “Abortion without borders” have announced that they want to offer Polish women in need of help the possibility of having an abortion for free, or they will to pay the costs if they decide to terminate their pregnancy in another country. At the moment this is a pilot project, once the resources for this initiative have run out, an additional amount will be evaluated.

Abortion in Poland is therefore a cultural issue that politics blindly obeys. “The school does not guide you to the use of contraceptives – explains Elzbieta – there is never talk of abortion and in some cases the classes are separated specifically to divide the boys from the girls. Because instead of subjects like sex education, subjects like “family life education” are taught, where we don’t even talk about safe sex, let alone abortion ».

In Warsaw, says Martyna, the demonstrations are held every day but the climate is very different from that of a year ago: “People are much angrier but definitely sadder.” But the Poland that resists, fights and uses every means to oppose the decisions of the Duda government is there. «They operate thanks to collections and donations. I know this from the Internet because until recently it was a taboo subject in Poland, ”says Elzbieta. In addition to the “Strajk Kobiet” movement and the parliamentary opposition, in fact, there is legalnaaborcja.pl or aborcjabezgranic.pl, two associations that help women in terms of abortion and rights, to make them feel less alone. Even if Elzbieta thinks that the only way to resist this climate is the street demonstration: «I think we need to protest, but so far we have not had any effect, they (who govern us) do what they want. Just when we thought they wouldn’t cross another border, they continue to do so. A woman died of them. So I think the only way is to wait for the 2025 elections and elect a new government ”.

At the moment, what emerges from the statements of the Polish Minister of Health, Adam Niedzelski, is that there will be an investigation to ascertain the causes of death. If the medical staff had acted to protect the life of the fetus at the expense of the mother, the doctors could face a five-year suspension from service. The response from the Pszczyna hospital is that the practices were carried out in strict compliance with the legislation and procedures in force in Poland. Martyna is not at all in favor of the temporary suspension of the medical staff who have cared for Izabela, in the sense that she finds it a front operation where the government is forced to condemn what happened. Elzbieta, on the other hand, highlights another important aspect “The doctors have been suspended from work. I guess they are not blameless, but this girl died because they had to choose whether to risk her life and career and remove the fetus or wait for the girl’s life to be in danger? I do not wish anyone this decision, I believe they did the best they could. If it weren’t for this law, which prohibits abortion in the event of serious damage to the fetus, the girl would probably be alive ”.

Source: L'Espresso – News, inchieste e approfondimenti Espresso by espresso.repubblica.it.

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