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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Pro-abortion protests rock Poland

by New Worker correspondent

OVER 100,000 people took part in Friday protests in the Polish capital of Warsaw over the government’s decision to outlaw virtually all abortions in the former people’s republic, which has been governed by pro-imperialist reactionary cliques since 1990. Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, who was seen amongst the demonstrators, said that this is a not only a “protest to defend women’s rights” but also a protest “against cynical power”.

The Polish Catholic hierarchy and the ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) have long sought to outlaw abortion. But a decision of the constitutional court, a ruling party-controlled body, has sparked outrage throughout Poland.

Protests continue with demonstrators, mainly women, targeting Catholic churches in Warsaw and throughout the country to oppose the recent constitutional court ruling that an existing law allowing the abortion of damaged foetuses was “incompatible” with the constitution. Now abortions will only be lawful under life-threatening conditions or in cases of rape.

Veteran PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the current deputy premier, accused protesters of seeking “to destroy Poland”. He called on his party’s supporters to defend churches “at all costs” whilst Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski urged the police to take “decisive action…in the face of further attempts of similar acts of aggression and desecration announced by the leaders and organisers of the protests”.

The Communist Party of Poland (KPP) has condemned the ruling of the so-called constitutional court, pointing out that it “is trying to impose religious prohibition in the whole society that are inconsistent with the current state of medical knowledge and contemporary ethics”.

The KPP says that the major driving force behind this ruling is the Catholic Church, an institution with a deeply reactionary role, not only in Poland but worldwide.

“We stand for religious freedom for believers; however, the rules of religion cannot be imposed on society at large. The main driver of reactionary ideological changes in legislation is the Catholic Church. We believe that a real separation of the Church and the State is necessary.”

The Communist Party of Poland also said that it is necessary “to adopt standards prohibiting the combination of state events with religious elements, religious indoctrination in education and other spheres of life, as well as ending support for religious organisations from the state budget”.

The KPP supports the protests that are taking place throughout Poland against the reactionary changes and underlines that “this struggle has also a class dimension”. It will not be won by capitalist politicians who have proven time and time again that they combine reactionary socio-economic views with submission to the Catholic Church and religious indoctrination.