Politics and authoritative regime are as old as the time goes, might be in different forms, however. The new player to this equation has emerged as religion, more evidently during the coronavirus pandemic. This has been a standard trick across the nations whose leaders had been accused of incompetence – reach out to religion as a shield and emerge damage-proof.
When United States of America was burning with Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality and racism, President Trump emerged with Bible for a photo shoot after he was criticized for stepping up for the needful. Turkey’s President Erdogan when questioned about his policies and growing opposition, converted the Hagia Sophia into mosque. The latest such incident when the leader has used religion and faith for his motives is Poland’s Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of Law and Justice party (PiS), putting almost total ban on abortion.
Last week Poland was taken to a storm after the government-imposed ban on abortion in cases of malformed foetuses. This, when put into practice, puts a total ban on all abortions. Until now malformed foetus was the major reason of abortions in the country.
“Polish women are diminished to the role of incubators. I do not know how one could condemn a woman to give birth to dead foetus.”Justyna Kowalczyk-Tekieli
Poland is infamous for having one of the strictest abortion laws in European Union. Last three decades have seen the country abiding by, what leaders and conservatives call “abortion compromise”, after end of communism in Poland. Public has always been pro for retaining liberal abortion laws. However, in 1990s the leaders held down to the Catholic church and left on foetal abnormality as the reason for abortion – no route to avail referendum. Now after last week’s ruling even this is deemed illegal now. In Portland, on an average 1000 legal terminations that were performed each year since 1997 in cases of foetal abnormality will now be non-existent.
“Women’s hell”, the slogan of nationwide protests against the new law is trending now. Women are furious. The fact that this law is given by an ultra-conservative government who doesn’t regard giving women their due rights, makes the ruling even more humiliating for Polish women. Women who never engaged in politics are now speaking for their rights.
Justyna Kowalczyk-Tekieli, two-time Olympic medal winner said, “Polish women are diminished to the role of incubators. I do not know how one could condemn a woman to give birth to dead foetus.”
But why is Kaczynski raging a war with women, challenging their rights through anti-abortion law along with the Catholic church? This can be seen as a desperate attempt of a leader who is losing against Covid-19 and is failing to keep the government from falling apart – one last trial to save his sinking boat – what better than using the invincible shield of religion and faith. His aim can also be seen as an attempt to boost the coalition, marginalize Confederation and also get in the good books of the Church, thanking for its support. He has lit a fire in people by arousing their emotions and forcing them to choose a side. His recent defending the Church at all costs is an explicit example of this ploy.
Liberals are standing opposite to the conservative government which is exploiting religious beliefs to boost its political agendas as the public is surrounded by Covid crisis. The tactics are old and might have worked in the past, but will they bear the same effect in today’s era when women are not backing down from fighting for their rights, is to be seen.