Thousands of women across Poland are expected to go on strike in both their working and domestic lives to protest against a proposed new law that will effectively ban abortions.
Female workers across the country are planning to stage the walk-out tomorrow in a bid to bring the economy to a standstill and highlight their disgust at the proposed abortion bill.
They plan to wear black all day and will also refrain from doing any domestic chores in the household, including cooking and cleaning, as well as abstaining from sex.
Poland currently allows terminating pregnancy only at an early stage and when it threatens the life or health of the mother, when the baby is likely to be permanently handicapped or when pregnancy originates from a crime, for example rape or incest.
If the proposed new ban comes into force, it means all terminations would be criminalized and women could face up to five years in jail. Medics found assisting the termination would also be liable for prosecution and a prison sentence.
Critics fear the new law could mean that women who suffer miscarriages would be investigated and doctors could be put off conducting routine procedures on pregnant women in fear of being accused of facilitating an abortion.
Tomorrow’s strike, dubbed ‘the black protest’, will take place in more than 60 different Polish cities.
Magda Staroszczyk, a strike co-ordinator, told the Guardian: ‘A lot of women and girls in this country have felt that they don’t have any power, that they are not equal, that they don’t have the right to an opinion. This is a chance for us to be seen, and to be heard.’
The protest has been inspired by an all-out strike more than 40 years ago by women in Iceland, when 90 per cent refused to work, cook, or look after their children for a day in October 1975.