Before the Czarny Protest: Feminist activism in Poland

Before the Czarny Protest: Feminist activism in Poland

Kasia Narkowicz


Abortion in Poland was legal during Communism and became illegal (with a few exceptions) after the political shift to democracy. Since then, feminists have been active in resisting the abortion law but with little success in gaining public support or influencing legislation. This changed in 2016, when hundreds of thousands of Poles across the country took to the streets in what became known as the Czarny Protest, or Black Protest. They opposed a bill that would remove some of the exceptions and impose criminal sanctions on abortion. The scale of the protest meant that the proposal was stalled, even with the newly elected conservative populist government in power. It was a victory for the feminist movement and came as a surprise, especially after a similar proposal in 2011 received almost no public attention and failed to mobilise even within the feminist movement. This paper looks back at the pro-choice movement at that point, before the mass mobilisation in 2016. It draws on interviews and focus groups conducted with pro-choice activists in Poland between 2011 and 2012. It captures a moment when the feminist movement failed to mobilise support for the liberalisation of abortion, because it was predominantly active online rather than on the streets. The paper concludes by posing questions about the success of the mass mobilisation that took place five years later in 2016 and was, in contrast, largely mobilised online. Has there been a shift within the pro-choice feminist movement? Is there a sudden interest in feminist politics among the Polish public? Or was the Czarny Protest rooted in a broader dissatisfaction with the current regime? And lastly, what does that mean for feminist activism in Poland and the wider resistance against right-wing politics?

Key words: Abortion, Poland, Pro-choice, Czarny Protest, Feminist Activism


The conflict around abortion is a long-standing issue in Poland. Historically, sexual politics have been the unruly companion of significant shifts in the political and social make-up of the country, from de-Stalinisation to the political transition, the enlargement of the European Union and, most recently, the 2015 elections and their aftermath, which culminated in what became known globally as the Czarny Protest, translating to ‘Black Protest’, in 2016 (Narkowicz 2016; Korolczuk 2017).

Poland’s current abortion law, also referred to as the abortion compromise, is less than three decades old. This legislation was swiftly enacted as part of the democratisation processes that began in 1989. After the fall of the Communist system in 1989, Central-European governments took measures towards the ‘re-familisation’ of their societies, including changing the legislation on termination of pregnancy (Gal and Klingman 2000). In 1993, abortion in Poland became almost completely illegal, after having been legal during Communism (Fuszara 1993; Nowicka 1997; Kramer 2003). From having one of the most liberal abortion laws in Europe, the country suddenly enacted one of the most stringent anti-abortion laws. Abortion in Poland is permitted in only three circumstances: when the pregnancy constitutes a threat to the woman’s life or health; if the foetus is irreversibly handicapped; or if the pregnancy was the result of a forbidden act such as rape or incest (Czerwinski 2003).

Historically, Poland was among those countries in Europe that pioneered legal abortion. Early debates around the legalisation of abortion formed part of the wider debate regarding the formation of a Polish criminal code in the 1920s (Grzywacz 2013). The gynaecologist, poet, playwright and vocal pro-choice supporter of women’s rights, Tadeusz Boy-Żeleński, and prominent pro-choice feminist and writer Irena Krzywicka, campaigned against what they called ‘back-alley abortions’ and their associated health complications (Grzywacz 2013). When popular support for the legalisation of abortion grew in Poland, it was eventually signed into law after the death of Stalin. Maria Jaszczuk, then parliamentarian and rapporteur for the Bill on Conditions of Pregnancy Termination, in which abortion was made legal for Polish women in 1956, remembered that time as one of massive public pro-choice opinion and little resistance:

[There were] women’s activists in Warsaw and in consultation with the Health Minister we started to prepare the abortion bill. I only received one letter in opposition to my proposal to introduce legal abortion (a letter with a religious picture asking why I was doing it). But other than that [legal abortion] was met with approval. (Jaszczuk 2009, my translation)

From the mid-1950s onwards, legal abortion was widely available in Poland. While most Western European countries did not legalise it until the late 1960s or 1970s, Poland and other Communist states in Central and Eastern Europe had liberal abortion laws, which meant that women from Western countries such as Sweden, where abortion was illegal, travelled to Poland for their terminations (SOU 2005). As one pro-choice activist reflected in a film about illegal or ‘underground’ abortions:

My generation got the right in 1956 to decide about themselves. And we still had more children than women have today! (Podziemne Państwo Kobiet [The Underground Women’s World] 2009)

The sudden change in legislation at the time of transition in the early 1990s caused mass opposition among women, who took to the streets protesting against state interventions to control their bodies. The criminalisation of abortion proposed by right-wing and religious groups came as a shock to many women, whose rights were suddenly about to be taken away at the same time as the country was transitioning to democracy after the long rule of the Communist Party (Gal and Klingman 2000). This changed women’s activism. During Communism, women were predominantly active in the wider struggle for democracy as part of the trade union Solidarity, which formed the largest opposition to the Communist government (Regulska 1992). Women’s role in the Solidarity movement became especially crucial during the 1980s, when women continued the pro-democracy struggle after the mass imprisonment of Solidarity’s male members (Penn 2006). Immediately after transition, Solidarity’s Women’s Section had 10,000 members. It was when they started voicing opposition to the proposed de-legalisation of abortion that a rift took place with Solidarity’s men, who were closely attached to the Catholic Church (Aulette 2008). With Lech Wałęsa, the leader of the opposition movement, who always had the figure of the Virgin Mary pinned to his chest (Płatek 2004), the Solidarity movement represented a certain vision of Polishness, one that was not comfortable with a feminist-centred politics. When Solidarity’s women were pushing against the ban on abortion, the union refused to support them, arguing that women’s moral views on abortion were unsatisfactory (Einhorn 1993). It is in the context of the abortion ban of 1993 that women’s activism in Poland became more concretely focused on feminist issues.

Abortion became one of the first issues debated in the new democracy, signalling the symbolic and material importance that the new democratic government attached to the control of women’s bodies and reproduction. The debates held then regarding reproductive rights, the role of the Church, healthcare and social policy, were instrumental in the construction of a Polish political imagination and in the shaping of the women’s feminist movement post-1989 (Fuszara 1993; Gal and Kigman 2000). Consequently, feminist activism became central to broader democratic claims to the public sphere in the 1990s (Fuszara 1993). Reminiscing about the feminist protests in the early days of illegal abortion, one of my interviewees told the story of her own feminist awakening:

From 1980 until 1989 I was basically busy raising children, working at the university and other things more to do with entertainment, but not so much politics. But there was this moment, when I went to do the grocery shopping and saw a note saying ‘if you disagree with the project put to Parliament about criminalising abortion and also a two-year punishment for a person who helps a woman end her pregnancy meet at the Copernicus Monument’… well, then I dropped everything, left the kids with an uncooked meal [laughs] and went to the Copernicus Monument. The protest in May under the Copernicus Monument is like a milestone in my activities. I left my previous roles and… in 1989… across Poland there were a myriad of organisations and movements being set up. We set up [name of Basia’s pro-choice group] in June that year.

(Basia, individual interview, pro-choice activist, 60+)

The women’s protests of the late 1980s gave rise to a prominent women’s movement in post-Communist Poland (Chełstowska 2008; Gal and Klingman 2000), leading to the formation of around 30 women’s groups across the country (Einhorn and Sever 2001). These newly formed women’s groups directed their protests against the Catholic Church when they took to the streets chanting slogans such as: ‘This is Poland, not the Vatican!’, ‘Fewer churches, more day care’, ‘God save us from the Church!’ and ‘Poland was enslaved, now Polish women will be enslaved’ (Hauser, Heyns, and Mansbridge 1993: 259). These marches were not dissimilar to the protests held almost three decades later in 2016. Over time, abortion, then at the centre of women’s activism in Poland, became a more marginal issue, with decreasing public support and increasing stigma attached to it.

This article draws on primary data gathered in 2011–2012 during fieldwork in Poland that lasted for one year and was part of my PhD research on conflict in the Polish public sphere. I conducted interviews, focus groups and participant observations with pro-choice and pro-life activists in Warsaw. I am not including interview data from the pro-life participants in this paper because my focus here is specifically on pro-choice activism. The article draws from six individual interviews, two paired interviews, one focus group and four participant observations with pro-choice activists. The interviewees were all women, mostly 30–40 years old, with a couple of younger and older women participating as well. Most of the participants were educated and middle class. Most were employed in various non-governmental organisations (NGOs), including feminist ones, one was an academic and one a politician. All the women were also activists. Their views ranged from liberal feminism through radical feminism to anarcha-feminism. To maintain anonymity in what is a closely-knit feminist community in Warsaw, I have changed all the participants’ names and will only refer to them by pseudonym and approximate age. Apart from the interviews, I attended various feminist events, meetings and marches – insights from which informed this paper as well. All the fieldwork was conducted in Polish and subsequently translated.


2011: Before the Czarny Protest

At the time of my fieldwork in Warsaw in 2011–2012, abortion was again on the agenda, as happens every few years. Then, both pro-choice and pro-life[1] movements were gathering support for their citizen initiatives among the public in the hope of gathering 100 000 signatures and putting forward their proposals for more liberal versus more restrictive abortion laws in parliament with the aim of changing the current legislation. While the pro-life initiative was successful in gathering 100 000 signatures, their petition was eventually rejected by the then centre-liberal government. The pro-choice citizen initiative, however, was largely a failure, and was unable to reach the 100 000-signature threshold. The women I interviewed were all involved in this initiative, yet not all of them were active in collecting signatures. Some of them felt strongly that ‘Facebook is not enough’ and urged activists to mobilise offline (Desperak 2011: 1). But this was not easy in 2011. The feminist pro-choice movement that had entered the public sphere over two decades previously had become demotivated and, as some of my interviewees put it, dead (interview with Basia).

There were about 70 of us active and then fewer and fewer, and now we’re only a handful of people. You could say that some people just died out, literally, because we’re all over 60 now… sometimes I do get burned out and tired.

(Basia, individual interview, 60+)

Basia collected signatures for both the 1989 and the 2011 citizen initiatives. She remembered that, back in 1989, they collected a million signatures against the criminalisation of abortion, while this time around, in 2011, the pro-choice movement failed to collect the 100 000 signatures required:

I’m very happy that it [the citizen’s initiative] is going on, we’re collecting signatures wherever we can. But this is still very different from when I worked at the cultural centre in the Ochota neighbourhood and people who didn’t even know me but knew what I was doing would find me and want to sign the petition. And now we have to go and find the people.

(Basia, individual interview, 60+)

Through talking to Basia and other pro-choice activists during my fieldwork, it became clear that the days of the mass influx of women’s groups taking ownership of the streets of Warsaw – which occurred in the early 1990s – were past. The feminist activists had observed a slow erosion of pro-choice activism in the public sphere. Street activism, according to them, was rare among pro-choice activists at that time, in 2011–2012. This indicates a slow, but drastic change from the earlier days of feminist protest in Poland. In feminist circles, through the 1990s and at the beginning of the 2000s, abortion politics was discussed, as Aneta remarked: ‘ad nauseam’. During my interviews, many participants reminisced about the radical actions of feminists at that time, with a hint of nostalgia and a certain sense of resignation:

Kasia: And when was all this?

Aneta: It was a long time ago…

(Aneta, paired interview, women’s NGO worker, 30+)

There’s a defeatism dominating. It is, I must admit, quite justified if we look at what’s going on.

(Iga, individual interview, activist, 30+)

Before, there was much more of this protest… these kinds of street actions, there was more of that.

(Jagoda, paired interview, women’s NGO worker, 20+)

In interview after interview, the pro-choice participants spoke of a decline in the movement of which they were a part. This was captured well in a film made by one of my participants, in which an interviewee describes the shift in the feminist movement in Poland:

From the tens of thousands who were active… and this drop happened within only a few years. There was the ‘89, ‘93… and then in 1994… we were standing outside the US embassy because it was some Global Day for Women and there was only me standing there and Wanda Nowicka. It makes me sad when I remember so many people turning up on the streets, full of anger and willing to commit and engage in the [abortion] issue. And then there was a withdrawal, everyone retired to their homes, their work. We got the sense that our activity was pointless, nothing happened. And this is how it looks now. (Podziemne Państwo Kobiet 2009)

This lack of street presence has been analysed by the senior figures in the movement with disappointment and defeatism. A key figure in the pro-choice movement, and also a politician, mourned the passing of the pro-choice activism of the 1990s:

I doubt that such a movement [referring to the early 1990s] would be possible today because many former pro-choice activists have slipped back into conformity and passivity. (Nowicka 1997)

The lack of ‘street-feminism’

A major hindrance to the pro-choice group gathering support under their initiative in 2011 was the fact that the required 100 000 signatures could not be gathered online but rather had to be collected on paper due to the petition’s status as a citizen initiative, which, in order to be formally lodged, requires every citizen to physically sign the petition, adding their identification number. This was difficult because the pro-choice movement had gradually moved away from the streets and was operating predominantly online.

Scholarship on feminist activism has shown that online spaces can have a democratising effect, facilitating new social engagement and opening up new possibilities for political activity (Puente 2011; Keller 2011; Soon and Cho 2013; Kember 2003). As Puente (2011) has shown in Spain, when there was already a solid grounding in offline feminist organising, online feminist spaces complemented and facilitated face-to-face organising and direct action. In contrast to the Polish case, the Spanish online portals became political tools that contributed to legislative change (Puente 2011). In the Polish case, however, the pro-choice movement went online not primarily to facilitate offline activism, but almost to replace it. Public opinion in Poland had shifted so radically to a pro-life stance that feminist pro-choice activists faced a public backlash. This meant that many feminists were reluctant to go out on the streets and instead organised predominantly online. Unfortunately, their online activism did not translate into street activism at the time of the 2011 citizen initiative to liberalise the abortion law.

Kasia: And how were you involved [in the citizen initiative for liberalisation of the abortion law]? What did you do?

Jagoda: We collected signatures.

Kasia: And did you collect among people you knew, or did you go out on the streets?

Jagoda: No, no, it was more that there were petitions laid out here in the office and we announced that people can come to us and sign it… more in this way.

Kasia : You didn’t go out on the streets?

Jagoda: No.

Kasia: Ok, and you, Aneta?

Aneta: Um… I collaborated with the initiative as well… in the beginning I helped out with the graphics as well and made some posters or things like that, and later we did some events with UFA, I don’t know, it was more cultural and music events where it was important to have a stand where signatures could also be collected.

Kasia: And what was the interest like? Do you remember any conversations among people who signed or didn’t sign the petition?


Kasia: Any voices of opposition among your group maybe?

Jagoda: On the contrary, actually, but perhaps that’s because people who attend these kinds of events or come to this kind of organisation already have a grounded worldview.

(Jagoda and Aneta, women’s NGO workers, 20+ and 30+)

The way in which the citizen initiative took off, within familiar and seemingly safe spaces, also meant that the initial work involved groups and individuals who were already supportive of the proposed initiative. Jagoda and Aneta, both of whom started their activism in the early 2000s on the street and have both since retired to semi-private and online spaces, said of online spaces:

Kasia: And is it successful, does it work, that the work has moved online?

Jagoda: I’m not sure…

Aneta: I would not be so sure about that…

(Jagoda and Aneta, women’s NGO workers, 20+ and 30+)

As other pro-choice activists confirmed, the collection of signatures initially took place among groups already deemed sympathetic to the cause:

We were gathering a bit among our own group; these conferences are attended by the same people all the time and these people have usually already signed the petition.

(Agata and Gizela, paired interview, 30+ and 40+)

For a movement that has been less active in material spaces and increasingly active in virtual spaces for a decade, the task of mobilising in the material sphere proved challenging. There was a distinct lack of people who were willing to go out onto the streets:

We didn’t have enough people to go out there.

(Iga, individual interview, 30+)

The key to gathering signatures is to get out on the streets. And we lacked people who would be willing to give up their time, stand on the streets, approach strangers, actively engage them in conversation and ask them to sign…

(Gizela, paired interview, activist and politician, 40+)

Edyta: What we didn’t manage to accomplish was to gather a large group of people to collect signatures, simply.

Kasia: On the streets?

Edyta: Yes, on the streets. It didn’t translate into a mass movement.

(Edyta, individual interview, activist and academic, 30+)

The difficulty for the pro-choice movement lay in utilising ‘traditional methods’ in their activism. That is, moving away from activism within the group itself and establishing methods to ‘reach ordinary people’ using methods such as standing outside metro stations with petitions the way that the pro-life movement did. The lack of street presence was understood by several of the pro-choice activists as the biggest issue and the ultimate reason why the citizen’s initiative did not reach its target of gathering 100 000 signatures:

Gizela: The thing that we fell flat on was… these more traditional methods of gathering signatures. The conferences and debates we had were exhausted, so we had to go out on the streets because we needed to reach ordinary people, especially as we couldn’t count on the media. So suddenly it turned out that we had no people who we could stand on the streets with.

Kasia: How many people were involved in collecting signatures?

Gizela: You know… it’s so different… We needed at least 15 people to register the Committee… There were those who were very active but didn’t join the Committee. I must say that when it comes to the most active people, those who were really involved… few of them were long-term activists in women’s organisations or feminist organisations, I would even say that these women [from the feminist organisations] were least active.

(Gizela, paired interview, activist and politician, 40+)

I had this thing that I would like to take part in such an action and I see that many people around me also have this feeling that they would want to, but they’re a little bit afraid…

(Aneta, paired interview, women’s NGO worker, 30+)

I was also out on the streets… it was very unpleasant. I hate it and every time I went out on the street I wanted to bite my own finger…

(Edyta, individual interview, activist and academic, 30+)

I understand that not everyone can do it. It’s one thing to stand with a banner and wait for people to approach us, and that would only happen if the media would constantly be on the issue reporting that there is such and such an initiative going on, and then people would recognise us. But here the job was to catch people, to go up to them and say good day I come from Yes to Women, I’m gathering signatures.

(Gizela, paired interview, activist and politician, 40+)

…and not under a petition for protecting dolphins but under a petition for protecting women! Women are afraid to speak up during lectures at university, not to mention going out on the streets and asking for a signature. [It] is an important matter for our movement to teach girls assertiveness and run courses so that a woman who hears that she’s a bitch and a murderer when she’s collecting signatures won’t run home and cry but treat this as something that’s bound to happen, and she must move on and ask for another signature, that’s what I think.

(Magda, individual interview, activist and writer, 30+)

Even though the women who did go out on the streets, such as Gizela, Agata and Edyta, reported on their experiences as ultimately being surprisingly positive, most of the established pro-choice activists to whom I spoke did not go out at all. The lack of feminists out on the streets was a disappointment to one of the organisers of the pro-choice citizen’s initiative, who linked it to a ‘lack of commitment’:

I will tell you honestly as a person who comes from the feminist movement where I’m active, to me a big disappointment is the organisations, women’s and feminist organisations… We’ve never tried this kind of thing and this really demands a real commitment and declaration like ‘ok we’ll give this much and we’ll give this much’, so, I don’t know… maybe we’re living in some sort of mythical future. But if we could try it again, then it could have been different.

(Gizela, paired interview, activist and politician, 40+)

They did try again, five years later, and the results were radically different. This time around, in contrast to 2011, the internet was used to facilitate the offline protest. Because the Polish feminist movement was supported by many different actors, it managed to marry traditional forms of organising offline with new forms of organising online (Korolczuk 2017).

2016: The Czarny Protest

In 2003, feminist activist, writer and academic Agnieszka Graff emphasised the task of bringing ‘reproductive freedom back into the public sphere’ as a priority for feminists (Graff 2003: 113). Judging by the atmosphere almost a decade later during my fieldwork, the possibility of putting abortion back into the public sphere as it had been in the 1990s seemed – if anything – to be ever more remote. But this changed in 2016 when feminist protest gained significance again with the Czarny Protest, following a new proposal to restrict the abortion law even further.

In 2016, following the election of the right-wing PiS party, abortion legislation was once again threatened with more, and severe, restrictions. The change in the current abortion legislation was proposed in 2016 by Ordo Iuris, a group of conservative lawyers. This organisation proposed a total ban when at the time abortion was permitted under some circumstances; for example, when the woman’s life was endangered. These exceptions in abortion provision would be further restricted, including potential criminal prosecution for a woman who undergoes abortion. This was not the first time the current abortion legislation had been threatened, but it was the first time since 1993 that it caused such public outrage (Narkowicz 2016). Since the 2015 elections and the rise to power of the conservative Law and Justice party, women’s protest in Poland had once again become relevant, mobilising thousands of women (and men) onto Polish streets, in the cities and the countryside as a response to the new proposed bill that would restrict the abortion law further (Korolczuk 2017). After an unprecedented national and international protest, the government voted against the proposal.

The feminist protest came after several general public protests had already been held against the new government since 2015. Within this climate of intensified civil societal awakening, the Czarny Protest was perfectly timed. As such, the feminist protest in Poland became an important battle in a nationwide resistance against the populist government. A crucial reason for its success was that, in contrast to the 2011 citizen initiative, the pro-choice movement managed to get out onto the streets. This happened because they were no longer just a handful of women as before; now, they were hundreds of thousands of women, outraged and ready to fight a battle they had not fought since the early 1990s.

Accompanying the Czarny Protest was a citizen initiative that, much like the one in 2011, aimed at liberalising the abortion law. Just as in 2011, there were two competing proposals that sought to get 100 000 signatures in order to be put forward for discussion by the government. The pro-life proposal that sought to criminalise abortion managed to get 450 000 signatures, but was eventually rejected by Parliament. The pro-choice proposal for the liberalisation of the law managed to gather over 200 000 signatures this time, which is 150 000 more than in 2011. Despite the fact that the 2016 mass protests were largely mobilised in online spaces, they succeeded in getting women out on the streets. Perhaps this suggests that online activism has become more important in Poland and that, when coupled with public dissatisfaction, it can facilitate the still-needed street activism that is crucial for legislative change.


Feminist protest in Central and Eastern Europe was historically closely intertwined with the political transformation from Communist rule to a capitalist democracy. Today, it is again at the centre of a political shift in the country and the resistance to it. 2016 was an especially important year for the Polish pro-choice movement. The then newly elected right-wing party, Law and Justice, allowed a proposal from a right-wing group to be discussed and voted upon. The right-wing government, with the support of the Catholic Church, wanted to back this proposal, which would restrict abortion further by introducing punishment for women who terminated their pregnancies. But, in contrast to the previous time that a similar proposal was introduced, in 2011, the 2016 plan to introduce a full ban on abortion was met with fierce protest by Polish women, who took to the streets demonstrating against this plan (Narkowicz 2016). This mass mobilisation was a surprise to many feminists (Korolczuk 2017), especially those who remembered how hard it had been to get the public engaged in these issues.

Drawing on data collected with Polish pro-choice activists in 2011–2012, this paper has mapped out feminist protest before 2016, in order to better understand the mass mobilisation that culminated in the Czarny Protest [Black Protest]. As Korolczuk (2017) has argued, the Czarny Protest is both an example of revolutionary feminist politics and a symptom of ongoing changes in Poland. And, as I have argued elsewhere (Narkowicz 2016), while there is scope for optimism about the ability to once again mobilise Polish women to protest for their abortion rights on a mass scale, it is necessary to recognise that the mass feminist protest in October 2016 was not necessarily indicative of a sudden eruption of feminist and pro-choice attitudes among Polish citizens. This is because, as I have shown in this paper, the pro-choice movement failed to gather public sympathy under similar legislative proposals only a few years earlier, in 2011, when they did not succeed in collecting 100 000 signatures.

Since 2011, the political context has changed. Public dissatisfaction with the ruling conservative party, which has undermined democracy since its election in 2015, has allowed the feminist movement to involve people from outside, much like in the early 1990s, when ordinary women from both cities and villages dropped everything and walked out onto the streets; something feminists felt unable to do during the last decade. This time around, the pro-choice citizen initiative managed to get over 200 000 signatures, despite later being rejected by the largely right-wing government. The role of the internet was significant. In contrast to 2011, when pro-choice online activism meant that the protest did not go offline and ultimately failed, in 2016 the internet functioned as a facilitator of the major offline demonstration that became the Czarny Protest (Korolczuk 2017). This recent shift in Polish pro-choice politics corresponds to literature that stresses the ability of online activism to open up opportunities and become politically significant (Puente 2011; Keller 2011; Soon and Cho 2013; Kember 2003).

So what does all this mean for feminist activism and the power to resist anti-abortion legislation in Poland? It suggests that feminist protest in Poland, in order to be effective, needs to engage broadly and be present on the streets if it is to challenge the largely public presence of the right-wing pro-life movement. And it needs to tap into deeper societal discontents in order to find alliances. Crucially, it also needs to mobilise horizontally in cities and villages, because, to a large extent, this was its failure in 2011 and its success in 2016.



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[1] I use the terms ‘pro-choice’ and ‘pro-life’ here, because that is how the activists describe themselves and because these terms are well-known. However, I want to acknowledge that these terms are also contested within the movements. Within the pro-choice movement, it is common to refer to the ‘pro-life’ movement as ‘anti-choice’, arguing that it cares little for the lives of women while prioritising the life of the foetus.


Kasia Narkowicz is a human geographer working in the intersections of gender, race/islamophobia, religion and postcoloniality, and focusing on Poland and the UK. Kasia holds a PhD in Human Geography from the University of Sheffield and has since held posts at University of Södertörn, University of Cambridge and University of York. Her publications include: “Refugees Not Welcome Here: State, Church and Civil Society responses to the refugee crisis in Poland” (International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society), “Unmaking Citizens: Passport removals and the reorientation of colonial governmentalities” (Ethnic and Racial Studies, with Nisha Kapoor) and “Saving and Fearing Muslim women in a post-communist context: Troubling Catholic and Secular anti-Muslim narratives in Poland” (Gender, Place and Culture, with Konrad Pedziwiatr). Kasia’s Twitter

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