What’s Current: On ‘Black Monday,’ thousands of Polish women are on strike in protest of push to further restrict abortion laws

Protest against plans for a total ban on abortion in front of the ruling party Law and Justice (PiS) headquarters in WarsawKacper (See more photos at International Business Times. Image: Pempel/Reuters)
Protest against plans for a total ban on abortion in front of the ruling party Law and Justice (PiS) headquarters in WarsawKacper (See more photos at International Business Times. Image: Pempel/Reuters)

“Black Monday”: Thousands of women are on strike today in Poland in protest of right-wing government’s push to further restrict abortion laws.

New research confirms link between depression and the birth control pill.

Pole dancing! It’s aaaaall about fitness, guys.

New Vancouver-based reality show aims to glamorize prostitution. (Apparently “sponsored” is now code for “sugar babies” which is code for “rich dudes seek fembot for faux-relationship, mostly centered around ego-stroking.”)

Happy six year anniversary, AF3IRM! Solidarity, sisters!

Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, I-D, Truthdig, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog.

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  • Alienigena

    The story on the link between oral contraceptives (and long lasting ones) is a rebuttal to the schmuck who was commenting on the story about Anthony Weiner’s personal and political downfall. The schmuck (200yearoldjuniper) argued that the pill freed women sexually and allowed them to benefit unproblematically from the sexual revolution that regressive feminists and religious bigots (according to him) were trying to undo. Well how about this, the pill actually causes women to become depressed or worsens pre-existing depression in more than 20% of the people that take it. That is more than 1 out of 5. Why is this acceptable to people like schmuck man?

    • Just trying to Understand

      What do you think should happen when it comes to the pill? Should we ban the pill?

  • “#BlackMonday: Thousands of women are on strike today in Poland in protest of right-wing government’s push to further restrict abortion laws.”

    More than 25.000 in Warsaw. Nearly 6 MLN in all cities. And it was just a warning strike… Polki Ponad Podziałami! #CzarnyProtest #BlackProtest

    https://twitter.com/ElizaKarat/status/783036248533368832

    • Cassandra

      How did they get the word out? What is wrong with America that women are so asleep? Can you imagine this happening in the U.S.? I wonder what it will take to see this kind of solidarity and engagement elsewhere in the world in regard to both abortion access and the horrible undoing of women’s and gay progress via “gender identity?”

      • Zuzanna Smith

        Yes! I was just thinking that Polish people are really good at protesting, but then we’ve had a lot of practice.

      • Anger is the answer. Total ban on abortion is shocking and unacceptable for most women and families because people are aware of the consequences.
        Not everyone wants liberalization but the majority wants “compromise” (abortion act of 7Jan1993) to remain intact. Thus, STRIKE.

      • anne

        One thing I think makes a difference is history of socialism and revolution. Poland, Yugoslavia and all the Eastern European countries had a society organised around revolution, resistance and equality. We learned in school that our duty is to challenge the government if they are becoming oppressive, as young people and young revolutionaries. Poland would’ve been more subdued due to Soviet rule but both countries are populated with people who fought fascism, survived camps, female war heroes…Slagging off of single mothers was frowned upon as bourgeois, as was slagging off of the poor, disadvantaged, it was seen as remnant of capitalism and capitalism was evil. So this kind of organising against the oppressor is in the generational memory, while in capitalism, revolution and protest are dirty words, and such actions are persecuted. Poland is similar to, say, Croatia, having deep Catholic heritage, but during socialism, the church was seen as conservative, damaging organisation and it was extremely marginalised. So when the Wall fell and neoliberal capitalism sailed in, church compensated by becoming too powerful, the conservative laws damaging to women escalated, and repressions such as this one, that would have been seen contra revolutionary and against human rights, reared their ugly head again. But the mechanism, the awareness of revolution and just struggle against oppression is very much still in place, which is I think why American women have a much harder time fighting in this particular way.

        • Cassandra

          I guess what I’m wondering, and this is answer to you, Splin and Zuzanna, is how they got this organized on such a huge level. How did people hear about doing this? I guess there isn’t a lockdown on media the way we have in the U.S. (and other parts of the world)?

          • Dunno about all details. But this is post (October 3 at 12:31am) abt STRIKE from Marta Lempart (main organizer) :

            “My dear English speaking friends!
            Last week, during the demonstration in Wrocław, I called for a BLACK MONDAY – a national women’s warning strike on October 3rd against the legislation being proceeded in Polish parliament – a total abortion ban in all cases with no exceptions, that will lead to women’s deaths and imprisonment in case of a “suspicious” miscarriage.
            THIS PARLIAMENT ISN’T GOING ANY FURTHER!
            The protest consists of two parts:
            – a national absence campaign – on-demand leave, a day off for a child, a day off for donating blood and other legal forms of absenteeism at work as well as universities and schools.
            – activities organised locally, in different cities, by groups of women cooperating through the fanpage of the Nationwide Women’s Strike (Ogólnopolski Strajk Kobiet) on Facebook. So far, over 200 local events have been planned by 3000 women in Poland to be held on the strike day. Women abroad are organizing protests and sending us support from over 60 countries around the world and the information about our struggle is widely reported in world media.
            We received a touching message of support from the women of Iceland, who went on national strike 41 years ago, paralysing their whole country.
            Polish women arrange meetings, picketing, demonstrations, but also organise casual meetings. We encourage to donate blood that day or to do charity work. The campaign will conclude simultaneously throughout the country at 6 p.m., with a joint protest carried out in different forms. Almost 200 000 people are interested or declared there attendance in the events, and another 350 000 share it, making it the fastest on-growing event on Polish FB.
            We are being contacted by various business owners as well as university lecturers declaring their participation in the campaign. TV stations and magazines change their broadcasting and editing schedules, as women – journalists have the day off. We are receiving information about companies and offices closing for Monday, about cancelled lectures at universities as well as days off granted to all female employees by their employers. Mothers are not sending their daughters to school. Instead, some of them are actually bringing their children to the protest, all dressed in black.
            There are also repeated calls for mass apostasy from the Catholic Church as it had backed the proposed legislation. Some participants have posted pictures of their freshly submitted resignations from the Catholic church.
            Among us – the organisers of the national absence campaign there are social activists, members of feminist and women’s rights organisations and movements as well as non-affiliated people. We adopted a NO LOGO principle, because on a national scale, the protest is simply a protest of women and the men who support them.
            For now, our only postulate is: immediately cease the Parliament’s work on the barbaric, outrageous anti-abortion bill.
            But personally, as I, and other citizens gathered in the Committee for the Defence od Democracy, have been protesting since December 2015 against the worst government that we had after the fall of the communism, I hope that this is IT for this government.
            That this is the beginning of their end.
            I am going to watch them fall and I will do everything I can to make this fall fast and painful.
            Important information and links:
            The official fanpage of the Strike: https://www.facebook.com/ogolnopolskistrajkkobiet/
            The main event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1659773451018196/
            Please support us and share this information!
            And yes, Inbal Shenfeld Kolodziejska, you were right about the headquarters thing.”
            https://www.facebook.com/marta.lempart.9/posts/10210407135635411

            …and more info can be found here:
            MAIN EVENT https://www.facebook.com/events/1659773451018196/
            FANPAGE https://www.facebook.com/ogolnopolskistrajkkobiet/
            DISCUSSION https://www.facebook.com/groups/1600548686912853/

          • Cassandra

            Thank you for such a thorough response. It’s wonderful to see FB be a force for good for once. I am still just in awe that it happened and that it worked.

  • lagattamontral

    Wonderful photos in that LA Times report. I guess a kraj is a coathanger?

    I loved Emma, but where is Polish Rosa?

    • kraj = country

      no women no kraj
      no women no coutry

      😀

    • Zuzanna Smith

      Kraj means country or nation, but it sounds like Cry, no woman no cry.

  • Meghan Murphy

    omg seeeeeriously

  • Well, I want more than 3000 crosses to shame catholic church too, then:
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/559625a0d68e93af53a711e496794323693c44e7dc3c8fcea3b742bb18e89e65.jpg

    • Morag999

      That’s a devastating image.

      I also want a cross for every child who was raped and sexually assaulted by a Cathloic clergyman. And I want a cross for every Catholic nun who was used or assaulted by a priest, including the ones who became pregnant by priests.

      Most of these men have never paid for their crimes, and continue to get away with their crimes (e.g., the recent item about church-supported child-rape in Mexico) against children and women.

      We’re going to need a lot of crosses.

  • Zuzanna Smith

    Me too!

  • Si Llage

    Might you be able to spray paint them pink?

    • Liz

      I do fantasize that it would be wonderful to own the property next door, where I could put up something like the cross SPLIN posted, as a counterpoint.

  • Cassandra

    I wouldn’t hold your breath. It’s always crickets when it comes to actual female people’s humanity. But yes, I’d be shocked and thrilled, too.

  • Morag999

    Heh. Many people are ready and very willing to stand in solidarity with women — when those women are actually men. Being male, it seems, instantly adds sentimentality and urgency to very selective “women’s issues.”

  • Liz

    That would be incredible! They are so outspoken about “saving” 3000 clusters of cells every day, but they clam up pretty good about the thousands of living, breathing children who suffer at their hands.

    I also wonder…what do they think the world might look like if there were another 3000 unwanted children born each day? Do they imagine a world with LESS suffering? I’m not sure their numbers are valid, no idea where the 3000 comes from, but I don’t think it matters. They actually WANT 3000 more children to be born every day, whether their families want them and can take care of them or not.