Sheffield University feminists relieved after Poland’s U-turn on abortion ban

Campaigning feminists at Sheffield University have expressed their delight at Poland’s decision to overturn a total ban on abortion.

100,000 Poles dressed in black turned out to protest against the ban in 60 cities across Poland, which would prohibit abortions even in cases of rape, incest or ill health.

However, MP’s voted against the controversial bill on October 6 with 352 votes to 58.

Sheffield University’s Women’s Committee showed their support for Polish women using signs and banners outside the Student’s Union to raise awareness of the issue.

PASSIONATE: Holly Lown, 19, of Sheffield University’s Women’s Committee

Chair of the Committee Holly Lown said: “We were really pleased that students, as well as the Polish community, were really interested in the signs and what we were doing.”

The 19-year-old added: “For Polish women, it is really important that they get a choice in what they get to do with their bodies and at the women’s committee we stand for making sure that every woman is heard.”

She said that the Committee was overjoyed that the government had decided to overturn their decision, although they questioned whether officials had only decided to change based on the backlash.

TEAMWORK: Holly Lown with other members of Sheffield University’s Women’s Committee

The bill initially came from an anti-abortion initiative which received 450,000 signatures and was backed by the Catholic Church.

However, the reaction from the Polish people meant that lawmakers were pressured into voting against the bill.

Former sports minister Joanna Mucha said PiS lawmakers “panicked” after the protests.

She warned: “Polish women won’t allow you to drive them to the slaughterhouse like sheep”.

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