‘We want our voices to be heard’: Polish abortion law protests in Alex Square

As a result of the new law ’97 per cent of abortions are illegal and unconstitutional’

Yesterday in Alexandra Square, students gathered to protest against new abortion laws being implemented in Poland.

Although abortion on demand has never been legal in Poland, in some cases the state would allow an abortion. This week, the constitutional courts deemed it would be illegal to have an abortion in cases of “severe foetus deformation” including deformations that would lead to death straight after birth. Since then, protests have broken out across Poland, and the world, including on campus at Lancaster University.

Organised through a Facebook event page, a group of Lancaster students planned their own protest against the new measures. The protesters took their stance with banners and chants in Alexandra Square. The Lancaster Tab spoke to two protesters about why they were passionate about spreading the word on the new laws, and why Lancs students should stand with them.

Marta Adamska, a second year computer science student, said that before the change, women were allowed to get an legal abortion if her pregnancy was due to rape, the child was severely deformed or when the pregnancy is a threat to the woman’s life. She continued to say: “The constitutional tribunal, one of the main Polish governing powers, ruled the law that 97 per cent of abortions are illegal and unconstitutional.” She said that it is “horrendous that woman can’t access basic health care now.”

In response to a question about what Lancaster can do regarding the new Polish abortion laws, Marta told us: “[Lancaster] should worry about this as well, as Poland is in the middle of Europe, the heart of Europe, and things like this are happening which is unacceptable.”

Adam Mytnik, a third year international management student, added that the decision has led to Polish students, families and friends protesting. He said: “There is no longer freedom of choice and that’s why many of our friends and families in Poland right now are protesting against this decision which wasn’t made officially through parliament but from the judicial system in Poland. They didn’t re-consult the decision with any societies in Poland and this is why people are outraged.”

Adam continued to say that as this is occurring during a global pandemic, the Government is dividing people further rather than bringing people together.

Adam went on to say how much he appreciates the support from everyone who was protesting today, he said: “We want our voices to be heard, and that’s our main reason why we are here. What is really important to us is that it’s not only Polish students that are protesting today. We all gather here today to really fight for rights and the freedom of Polish people who are violated right now.”

The main reason for the protest was to make Polish voices heard and it’s important to note that it wasn’t just Polish students at yesterday’s protest fighting for human rights, but a diverse range of students from different backgrounds – highlighting just how controversial this new law has come to be, and how it has resonated with students throughout Lancs.

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