Pro-choice groups are calling for a weekend of solidarity actions to protests against what they consider threats to women’s abortion rights in Europe. The call for action is the result of a recent case in Northern Ireland and a proposed bill that would entail a total ban on abortion in Poland.

Woman convicted in Northern Ireland for having an abortion

The Northern Irish case involves a 21-years old woman convicted for purchasing abortion pills over the Internet to self-induce an abortion. Following the miscarriage, the woman was reported to the police by her housemates after they found the remains of a fetus in a bin. Despite the fact that her prison sentence has been suspended - meaning that she won’t be jailed - she will have criminal records that might jeopardize her career prospects, according to women's rights organisations.  

To protest against this decision, different pro-choice groups have organized simultaneous protests this Saturday 9th of April in Derry, Belfast, London and Dublin. Similarly, many Polish people took the streets last Sunday to protest against the Catholic church and anti-abortion groups’ latest attempt to ban abortion in the country.

It has definitely been a difficult month for pro-choice activist. Last week the protests were aimed at presidential candidate Donald Trump, after he declared that if abortion is banned, women should be punished for seeking one

Campaign to ban abortion under all circumstances in Poland

Currently, the law in Poland only allows the termination of a pregnancy under three circumstances: when it is a result of rape or incest, when the embryo/foetus is non-viable or when the woman's life is at risk. But last Sunday, during the morning mass, several priests preached what it seems to be a coordinated sermon to advocate for a new bill that would prohibit abortion under any circumstance.

In response to the priests’ actions, pro-choice campaigners started collecting signatures to stop the bill and organized several protests that will continue this weekend. The activists claim that a more restricted abortion law does not discourage women from seeking abortions but only forces them to have unsafe and dangerous ones, the so-called “back-room” abortions. Last Sunday, 3rd of April, a group of Polish women walked out of a church during a priest’s sermon to show their opposition to his anti-abortion statements.

Poland and Northern Ireland are two of the European countries with the biggest Catholic population and tougher abortion law. In the Northern Irish case, for instance, women can be jailed for life for having an abortion, except if they are under some extremely limited circumstances, despite recent plans to reform the abortion law#Society