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Interviews and other interesting materials :: We will keep fighting and will not stop!

We will keep fighting and will not stop!

Czarny protest 1Paris, October 5, 2016

Poland will catalyze the process in whole Europe

Interview with Krystyna Kacpura, Executive Director of the Federation for Women and Reproductive Health, Poland

Krystyna, can you say just few sentences for you and your organization and what happens in Poland?
The Federation for Women and Family Planning has been existed for 25 years. This year we celebrate our 25 anniversary. I am the executive director of the Federation. As for the situation of the reproductive rights of the women in Poland: currently we have very restrictive law. The law is more restrictive in practice than in paper. The law allows abortion in 3 cases – when the fetus is seriously damaged, in cases of rape, or incest and when there is a danger to the women’s health and life. This law doesn’t work in practice and there are many circumstances for this. There are some limitations as for instance conscious objection or prolonged procedures for the demanded services. There are many other barriers to access the desired services.

Czarny protest 2Can you tell me more about the new proposal of this so conservative law?
This war was initiated by the Legal think-tank; they call themselves the legal tank the Ordo Iuris, which is focused on the so called traditional values. These are Catholic values and the tank opposes all progressive legislation based on human rights approach. 

Do we speak about a small group of people or they represent all Polish people?
No, no, no! They say they are the true Catholics. But probably you know that over 90% of the population in Poland is Catholics. But it doesn’t mean that the law drafted by them was supported by the majority. In fact 88% of the Poles are against this terrible law.

So it appears that small religious group of people changed the agenda of the whole country. But do they have relations with other religious groups?
Yes, they have. In the past there was consolidated group but now they are split. They divided in 2 parts. The second part prepared second draft law. The main difference is that the women shouldn’t be punished. But the other conditions existed. This includes rejection of emergency contraception or pre-natal tests because, according to them, it may lead to abortion.

The group of the Ordo Iuris is strongly supported by American religious and fundamentalist organizations. This is American influence and as far as we know the organization has offices in the Netherlands and in Brussels. Their agenda is to oppose the progressive European legislation. But they didn’t expect such big opposition. This Monday there were more than 250 000 people on streets and 7 million women on strike. These demonstrations were held in at least 100 cities and towns all around the Poland. And the women will not stop!

There were some ignoring messages from our government such as “women are playing; we will not pay attention on this” and these statements made the women even more determinate to continue the protest.

OK, the idea of the democracy is that the government should represent all people with the vote of the majority. Now we have the case of lobbying of small group of people. Does it mean that the government is related or dependent in a way with these groups?
Yes, maybe, somehow. But now the government is in trouble because they don’t know how to stop this anger of the women. The main reason for that anger is the rejection of the law proposed by the initiative “Save the women”. This proposal was about liberalization of the current law. And we were promised that both draft laws (the restrictive one and the “Save the women” law) will be sent in the parliamentarian commission for further procedures. In the end we have only the draconian law in the commission within the parliament.

What would happen with the women if the law was successful? They had to travel abroad in order to access health services?
This law was extremely dangerous for women’s health and life. The Polish women had only one way to choose: to continue her pregnancy despite the fact there was rape, the fetus is seriously damaged or there is direct treat for her health, or to go abroad for services.

So the women wouldn’t be punished in such case?
It depends. If the pregnancy was registered, the woman could be asked what happened.

And what if there is spontaneous abortion? The woman had to be punished again?
Yes, we were afraid of this as well. In the draft law there was envisaged obligatory investigation after the cases of miscarriage. The court as well as the prosecutor had the right to decide whether to punish or not the woman.

It seems very totalitarian?
Yes, it is totalitarian approach. These people do not care about the women and human rights. They don’t look for other ways for prevention but just want to control the society.

Do you have men involved in the Polish resistance?
We have. They are really supportive. The majority is women but there are a lot of men. For instance the managers who are often men – they were so supportive and gave the women free day for the protest.

I’ll go back about the relation with American religious organizations. Poland is part of the countries from Vishegrad. Probably what happened in Poland will have implications in the other countries. What do you think?
For sure! During the parliamentary debate it was stated by one of the Polish parliamentarians that Poland will be the first country in Europe that will be example of the pro-life movement. And for sure the other countries will follow that example. This may concern Hungary, Lithuania, Macedonia, Slovakia… The idea is to stop the international progress related to human rights.

So it seems that the European countries should have a response to this American influence?
Yes, really! But first they choose Catholic countries and first of all Poland. They say that Poland will catalyze the process in whole Europe.

What are the latest developments concerning abortion issues in Poland?
Polish Parliament rejected the draft law of the civic Initiative “Stop Abortion” by majority. The ruling party “Law and Justice” finally understood that Polish women don’t stop protesting. They didn’t expect such huge protest and think they were frightened. In this situation the best solution for them was to reject this draconian draft law.

What does it mean for you and Polish women?
The battle is won but still a fight is ahead of the Polish women.  We made the first step to regain our reproductive rights. We will keep fighting and will not stop! Polish women will not agree for another “compromise”.

 

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Interviews and other interesting materials :: We will keep fighting and will not stop!