Thousands of women went on strike in Poland on Monday to protest the Polish government’s attempt at new legislation that would guarantee a five-year prison sentence for women who have abortions, as well as for the doctors who provide them.
In March, an independent anti-choice group Ordo Iuris proposed the draconian legislation that’s now being pushed by the government’s Law and Justice (PiS) party. It’s an extreme proposition, even for a country that already has incredibly restrictive abortion laws. Abortion in Poland is currently only provided under three circumstances: if there’s danger to the woman who’s carrying the fetus, serious or or irreversible damage to the fetus, or if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest (which must be confirmed by the prosecutor).
The proposed legislation being pushed by PiS successfully made it through the first round in Polish parliament ― but the protests have resulted in Polish government officials stepping back to reassess the legislation. Poland’s Minister of Science and Higher Education Jaroslaw Gowin said that the protests “caused us to think and taught us humility.”
Women all over Poland went on strike, flocking the streets of Warsaw, Krakow, Gdansk, Lodz and other Polish cities in protest. Women in other European cities protested in solidarity.
Take a look at 23 incredible photos ― from Warsaw to Krakow and Brussels to Bucharest ― that capture the incredible spirit of women who are fighting for their reproductive rights.