About 300 protesters in Poland gathered outside the Warsaw home of Conservative Party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski on Monday to protest what they see as contempt for women and an erosion of their rights.
Protesters opposed a near-total ban on abortion pushed by the Law and Justice Party last year, as well as policies that ended state funding of IVF.
Kaczynski recently blamed the low birth rate on women who drink too much alcohol. Protesters have called for the resignation of the 73-year-old politician, saying he is out of this world and doesn’t understand the reasons that make it difficult for women today to decide to have children.
While the comment about alcohol angered many at the time, the protest was much smaller than some of the women’s strike-led rallies of years past. It took place on the 104th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote in Poland.
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“We are here today to remind you that we will not let go and that we know that things will be normal, that things will go as they should be, that Poland will be a country with freedom, with equality, with democracy,” he said. Marta Lempart, women’s rights activist and leader of the women’s strike.
“We have the right to vote but going to the polls is not enough, we want to have the right to decide our role in the family and in society. If a woman wants to have children, go ahead, she should be helped to do so and not limited by in vitro procedures” , he continued.
As a protester and mother of two, Jolanta Zjawinska said, “We as women have simply ceased to exist. What is happening when it comes to women’s rights is that theoretically we have guaranteed all rights, but we can hardly make any decisions.” on ours A categorical and absolute ban on abortion has been introduced”.
Women’s Strike says there are many reasons for the country’s low birth rate, including Poland’s de facto ban on abortion, lack of general access to sex education and in vitro procedures, high inflation, housing shortages and lack of access to childcare.
However, Kaczynski said at a press conference before the protest that she did not understand why protesters chose to demonstrate in front of her home as “I have always been an advocate of full equality for women.”
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