Declaration of the Foundation Kazimierz Łyszczyński against the draft legislation banning abortion in Poland
Nina Sankari, FKŁ
Last Sunday, the 2016 Days of Atheism drew to a close in Warsaw. As part of that event, the Foundation Kazimierz Łyszczyński organized an international feminist conference. That meeting demonstrated that all religions discriminate against and oppress women, conveying patriarchal notions of power based on dominance and submission, thus limiting women’s rights, in particular reproductive rights, or conferring to women a status of half-human only. Over the course of recent years, the rise of religious fundamentalisms of all stripes has led to extraordinary acts of barbarism against women.
In Poland, a complete ban on abortion, carried out under pressure from the Catholic Church, constitutes the most serious infringement of the rights of women since the interwar period. The Polish clergy, discredited by scandals, including pedophilia and extraordinary financial greed, seeks to impose its commands and prohibitions, not by way of the faith of its adherents, but rather by means of force. Perhaps the conscience of Polish bishops can withstand anything: ranging from the pedophilia of priests hidden in the Church’s ranks, all the way to the imposition of draft legislation whose result would be “femicide.” But it is not the bishops who sit in Parliament. Rather, it is docile politicians subservient to the Church who will be responsible for the tragedies of women. Because the cost of the alliance between government and altar is already paid by women with their lives and their health—but this barbaric legislation will dramatically increase that cost. The plan to institute a total ban on abortion has nothing to do with protecting life. On the contrary, it is a death sentence for any woman whose pregnancy threatens her life. She will be forced to carry the pregnancy to term even if the fœtus is severely damaged, only to witness, helplessly, the death agony of the newborn infant. She will be forced to give birth to a child born of rape. These exceptions in the current legislation—hypocritically called a “compromise”—allow for legal abortion in theory. However, as practice has shown, when a women loses her right to choose, even the right to legal abortion ceases to be applied and becomes a legal fiction.
The Foundation Kazimierz Łyszczyński has received messages of solidarity and support for Polish women from many feminist and freethought organizations, including Femmes Solidaires de France, international organizations such as RIFL, Féministes pour une Autre Europe, the International Association of Free Thought and several others.
Croatian women from 30 organizations affiliated with the Network of Croatian Women have written to us to declare, “We demand safe and accessible abortion for women in Poland, in Croatia and everywhere in the world!”
Several years ago, the large March 8th demonstration took to the streets under the banner “Democracy Without Women is Only Half a Democracy.” However, democracy without women is no democracy at all! The aborton issue, that is to say, the question of women’s self-determination, is not an issue for women only. It is not just an issue for their families and friends either. Rather, it involves society as a whole. The subjugation of women by an authoritarian government is the beginning of the subjugation of society in its entirety.
We cannot allow that!