Polish women from the Seattle area organize a protest at the Polish Cultural Center parking lot on Tuesday against the new abortion law in Poland. The Constitutional Tribunal in Poland ruled before the weekend that terminating a pregnancy due to a damaged fetus was unconstitutional, nullifying most of the abortion law that has been in force since 1993. The only exemptions left are in case of rape, incest or danger to the mother’s life. Protest organizers ask the protesters for using masks and keeping social distance at the event.
To be clear – this is not a protest against our local Polish institutions or organizations. The Polish Cultural Center Dom Polski in Seattle welcomes people regardless of their political views and serves everybody: Polish nationals, Polish-Americans and general public. This is a protest against what’s happening in Poland.
Update: about 70 people took part in the protest. Pictures from the event can be found here
Background: situation in Poland
Over the last weekend streets were jammed with protesting women in Warsaw, where the police used tear gas, and in other cities. There were also multiple protests in churches on Sunday. A similar law was proposed in 2016 and then abandoned in face of huge street protests by women.
However, this time the ruling comes from the Constitutional Tribunal, so it’s not clear what can happen. The Tribunal change of guard last year was part of a packet of controversial changes to the Polish judicial system by the ruling Law & Justice party, which forced some judges into early retirement and packed the courts with conservative judges. Nominations of some judges to the Constitutional Tribunal and the Supreme Court have been disputed. These changes have been questioned by the European Union as undermining the court independence in Poland while the Polish government says it was a necessary reform of the courts.
More: Warsaw Grinds to a Halt as Women Protest Abortion Curbs (Bloomberg), Polish Police Use Tear Gas As Abortion Curbs Spark Protest (Bloomberg).