Her name was Izabela. She died at the age of 30 on the 22 September, from septic shock on its 22e week of pregnancy, at the hospital in Pszczyna, a town of 30,000 inhabitants in southwestern Poland, where she had been admitted after losing water. Doctors, despite knowing her child doomed – he also suffered from deformities – and the patient’s life at risk, refused to perform an immediate abortion, preferring to wait for the fetal heart to stop beating. The young woman did not survive.
Izabela is considered by feminist organizations as the first known victim of the judgment of the Polish Constitutional Court of October 22, 2020, which ruled abortion due to pathology found in the fetus as unconstitutional, making abortion almost illegal. Since the story of “Iza de Pszczyna” was made public at the beginning of November, a deep emotion has crossed the country.
“You will never be alone”
On Saturday November 6, this emotion was reflected in large-scale demonstrations across the country. Under the watchword “Not one more”, between 20,000 and 30,000 people protested in Warsaw, and several thousand others in 70 Polish cities, but also in Oslo or Berlin. In the Polish capital, demonstrators marched from the seat of the Constitutional Court to the Ministry of Health, where they observed a minute of silence. The atmosphere was calm and solemn.
“I think, I feel, I decide”, “Abortion is life”, “You will never be alone”, could we read on the signs. Or « 2-2-2 9-22 5-9-7 », the phone number of the “Abortive Dream Team”, an informal organization which helps Polish women to have abortions abroad. Over the past year, the number of legal abortions in Poland has fallen to 300 cases – compared to 1,000 cases annually before – and feminist organizations are talking about a considerable increase in demand for abortion trips.
Many opposition politicians joined the processions, including the former prime minister and leader of the main opposition party, Donald Tusk, or the liberal mayor of Warsaw, Rafal Trzaskowski. The public media, for their part, minimized the event and shouted “The political use of a human tragedy”. As requested by the organizers, no partisan symbols were brandished during the protests. The subject nonetheless remains eminently political: throughout the week, the barons of the conservative national majority of the PiS (Law and Justice), which closely controls the Constitutional Court, tried to deny any cause and effect. between the tragedy and the new abortion legislation.
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In Poland, large-scale demonstrations in tribute to a victim of the anti-abortion law