‘Enough is enough’: more than 150 women protest against anti-abortion laws outside Polish embassy in Manchester

  • Over 150 women gathered for protest against Polish anti-abortion laws
  • Last week Polish right-wing populist party PiS banned termination in case of foetal abnormalities
  • Manchester protesters supporting thousands of people demonstrating against  new restrictions in Poland

Women protested with banners, chants, and marches against a new Polish anti-abortion law in front of the Polish embassy in Manchester last night.

With the new law the Polish right-wing populist party Law and Justice (known as PiS) banned abortion in cases where the foetus is severely damaged or malformed.

Termination of pregnancy is now only lawful after rape and incest or if the mother’s life is at risk.

Until now, foetal abnormality was the most common reason cited for the approximately 1,000 legal abortions performed per year in Poland.

Even before the changes, the abortion regulations in Poland were among the strictest in Europa.

I am sick of fighting. We have done it for years

Weronika, a 20-year-old protest attendee born in Poland, said: “This is not just about this law, but about the laws in general.

“It is not only about women gaining their rights back, but to get the right to decide over our own bodies in the first place.”

She attened the protest to support the tens of thousands of people who have been demonstrating against the law every day for the past week in her home country.

Protesters Anna (31) and Joanna (40): "Enough is enough."        Image: Victoria Thiele
Protesters Anna (31) and Joanna (40) met at the protest           Image: Victoria Thiele

More than 150 women, along with male supporters, met on Portland Street outside the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland at 5pm.

With chants of “My body, my choice”, they later marched towards Piccadilly Gardens.

Even in Manchester, almost 2,000 kilometres away from Warsaw, many of the protesters feel at risk for speaking up against the ultra-conservative government in Poland.

Two students refused to talk to the Northern Quota for fear of negative consequences if their names appeared in context of the protest.

Joanna, 40, did not want to give her last name because she said she had seen too much abuse on social media.

However, she said she found it important to speak up. 

She said: “I am really angry by how women are treated as second-class citizens. I am going to cry just thinking about it. It hurts me so much.

“I did not know anybody going to the protest, but looking at what is going on in Poland, I just thought: enough is enough.

“I am sick of fighting. We have done it for years.”

Signs left after the protest
As the protesters marched towards Piccadilly Gardens, they left signs at the embassy. Image: Constance Enzler

Because of covid-19 restrictions, the event was officially cancelled a few minutes prior to the announced starting time, but this did not prevent protesters from showing up.

Another demonstration is planned for Saturday.