The streets of Poland are seeing the growth and emergence of protests since October and at the heart of the protest movement are the women. A decision of the court to bank most abortions sparked the emergence of such protests. However, the protests have never been only for one issue. Something deeper is building on which has been going on for years. The streets of the cities and small towns across the country for weeks saw in every few days the turning up of hundreds of thousands of women, their male-allies and teenagers braving tear gas, surging COVID-19 infections, harsh police tactics and court orders.
Reasons for the Protests
If one is asked with as to why they are protesting, they will say that it felt inevitable for an uprising. Zoe Slusarczyk who is a fifteen year from Warsaw said that even if they don’t have the energy to go to school or work and are totally exhausted still they have the pressure to go to every single protest. A forceful renegotiation of the foundations of the government power, and their back-room deals, that built them is underway in Poland. There is a great threaten of upending a power structure that has held since the fall of communalism with the demand of freedom of reproductive for women and calls for greater equality.
The global wake of the #MeToo movement also saw such disruptions in which many powerful men got toppled but none have gone such deep to the politics as directly as in Poland. The country for decades has set the political arrangement for but would greatly get disturbed by gender equality. There has been the existence of a symbiotic relationship in the country wherein the politicians are granted authority by the Catholic Church in exchange for the enforcement by the government of ecclesiastical morality which also includes abortion restrictions.
However, it seems now that the arrangement bargaining is beginning to fail as the Pope John Paul II, favourite son of the Poland led church had protected priests that were pedophile in Poland and other countries. However, there is no comment made on the same by the Catholic Church of Polish but referred to some previous statements about protection of children and sanctity of life.
A contract between politicians and bishops
There is one common thing in successful transformations according to many scholars of political transitions is that the leaders do not allow perfect to be enemy of the good. Poland was also no exception to its democratic transition with the compromises that were made. The Catholic church also provided crucial support to the pro-democracy movement after the fall of Communism in 1989. Hence, politics and church got deeply embedded in each other and able to insist that the position of the church gets legislated by the new government on social issues. One of the main priorities of the Church was abortion restricting law which in the Communist era was widely available. Joana Scheuring Wielgus said that the resulting abortion law of 1993 was like a contract between bishops and politicians.