Participants of the annual National pro-Life March that walked through Warsaw’s streets on March 24 demanded that Polish law should protect human life from its start, at conception, till a natural death. They also marched in support of natural families and to highlight parents’ role in choosing their children’s upbringing.
Before the March started, a letter from Poland’s president Andrzej Duda was read out. In his letter, President Duda expressed his belief that human life will become more and more protected.
After the letter was read out, people of various age walked through the Old Town and some landmark Warsaw streets carrying “Poland strong with its families”, “let us proclaim the joy of life”, “love triumphs”, “merciful for the unborn ones”, “genderism is a deviation” banners.
According to the march’s organiser Christian Social Congress (ChKS), the participants also called on the Lower House to pass a civilian-written “Let’s stop abortion” act and denunciation of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (also known as the Istanbul Convention).
Contentious passages of the Convention
The Istanbul Convention has been under strong critique by the ChKS and the pro-life Christian societies for the alleged reasons of “sneaking in cultural Marxism” and “gender ideology”.
Article 12 paragraph 1 has been especially criticised for inciting “gender ideology” understood as dismantling of the traditional model family that the ChKS, and possibly many of the National pro-Life March-goers, recognises as fundamental for the protection and existence of life. The passage reads: “Parties shall take the necessary measures to promote changes in the social and cultural patterns of behaviour of women and men with a view to eradicating prejudices, customs, traditions and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority of women or on stereotyped roles for women and men.”
The ChKS head and the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) MEP Marek Jurek has been calling on Polish authorities to denounce the convention, saying that it gradually heads towards the rearrangement of public education and legislation in order to introduce “gender ideology” that will bring about a distortion of the natural world order and the complete destruction of family.
Whereas some passages of the Istanbul Convention provoke distrust among its opponents, the international agreement also includes provisions that protect women’s lives against various types of violence, including forced abortion.
This is specified by Article 39 that reads: “Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that the following intentional conducts are criminalised: a) performing an abortion on a woman without her prior and informed consent; b) performing surgery which has the purpose or effect of terminating a woman’s capacity to naturally reproduce without her prior and informed consent or understanding of the procedure.”
The National pro-Life March organisers demand that the Istanbul Convention be replaced with the International Convention of Family Rights. “Today’s rulers of Poland… enjoy a majority in both Houses, they enjoy the majority of convinced MPs and Senators, they have a civilian-written draft act to be passed, they have a draft stance of the Constitutional Tribunal ready, they have the public media that may become a great forum for the presentation of pro-life arguments and a space for calm dialogue with those whose opinion on the issue differs,” the ChKS posted on Facebook.