Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

There are only a few days left in our critical Mid-Year Campaign and we truly might not make it without your help.
Please join us. If you rely on independent media, support Common Dreams today. This is crunch time. We need you now.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

A woman observes thousands of people taking part in Monday's demonstration against plans for a total ban on abortion in front of the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland. (Photo: Reuters)

Tens of Thousands in Streets, on Strike in Poland Over Draconian Abortion Ban

Solidarity protests were also held in Paris, Berlin, Brussels, London, and elsewhere in Europe and the United States

Deirdre Fulton

Wearing black as a symbol of mourning for lost reproductive rights, tens of thousands of women in Poland and beyond took to the streets on Monday to protest a draconian ban on abortion.

As part of "Black Monday," more than 100,000 protesters vowed to boycott work or school, and "in an act of solidarity, a number of businesses and corporations have reportedly pledged to shut their doors as part of the strike," The Independent reported.

According to France 24:

The private news broadcaster, TVN24, with some of its own newscasters in black, showed images of establishments joining the strike, including a museum in Krakow where none of the women showed up to work.

In Czestochowa, a symbol of the country's Catholicism due to the presence of a major shrine, more than 60 percent of employees refused to show up to work, according to TVN24. City employees responsible for providing essential services came to work wearing black.

The Telegraph reports that Gazeta Wyborcza, a Polish newspaper, "decided to put out an edition without its female staff contributing."

Solidarity protests were also held in Paris, Berlin, Brussels, London, and elsewhere in Europe, as well as in the United States

As Common Dreams reported, the recently introduced bill would ban abortion in almost all circumstances, unless pregnancy threatens the life of the mother—and even then, women would be put at risk. As Amnesty International explained: "With no clear guidelines about how close to death a woman or a girl must be for performing an abortion for medical reasons to be lawful, the onus will be on doctors to delay for as long as possible."

The legislation, which the BBC notes "has cleared one parliamentary hurdle so far," sets prison terms of up to five years for women seeking abortion and doctors who perform them. It is now being examined by a parliamentary commission, which could amend it. A vote is not expected for weeks.

Organizers said Monday's strike and protest was inspired by the "Women's Day Off" that took place in Iceland 40 years ago, during which an estimated 90 percent of women refused to work or perform housework in protest of economic inequality and workplace discrimination. 

"A lot of women and girls in this country have felt that they don't have any power, that they are not equal, that they don't have the right to an opinion," Polish strike co-coordinator Magda Staroszczyk told the Guardian on Monday. "This is a chance for us to be seen, and to be heard."

Seen and heard they were, carrying signs that read, "We Won't Be Degraded" and chanting "Stop the fanatics!"

"Black is the color of today on the streets," said Jolanta Switala of Poland's Center for Women's Rights.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Just a few days left in our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

Democrats Lose Senate Majority as 82-Year-Old Leahy Heads for Hip Surgery

"It could be over for the Senate Dems now," said one policy expert in response. "This could mean they effectively lost their majority."

Jon Queally ·


World Awaits as US Supreme Court Prepares to Drop Carbon Bomb on the Planet

One Democratic senator warned the high court's right-wing majority "could unleash a new era of reckless deregulation that will gut protections for all Americans and the environment."

Jake Johnson ·


'Massive Betrayal': Biden Cuts Deal With McConnell to Nominate Anti-Abortion Judge

"At a time when we are fighting to protect human rights, this is a complete slap in the face."

Jake Johnson ·


Jan. 6 Panel Subpoenas Trump White House Counsel Pat Cipollone

Noting his refusal to cooperate beyond an informal April interview, the committee's chair said that "we are left with no choice."

Jessica Corbett ·


Sanders Pushes Back Against AIPAC Super PAC With Endorsements of Tlaib and Levin

"Once again, these extremists are pouring millions of dollars into a congressional race to try to ensure the Democratic Party advances the agenda of powerful corporations and the billionaire class."

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo