Facebook flip flops

Women Flood Polish Prime Minister’s Facebook With Vivid Menstruation Descriptions to Protest Abortion Ban

Less than a week ago, Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło, a member of the nationalist government formed by the Law and Justice Party, voiced her support for a parliamentary bill calling for a complete ban on abortion. Poland’s laws currently regulating the procedure are already widely regarded to be among Europe’s most restrictive, allowing abortions only if “the pregnancy is the result of criminally proven incest or rape, or there is a danger to the woman’s life, or if the fetus is seriously malformed.”

Szydło’s critics online have responded to her support for an even stricter abortion ban with ridicule and humor on social media. Just after midnight on April 4, using the double meaning of the term “period” (which exists in Polish, as it does in English), a Facebook event called “A Heavy Period for the Government” emerged, encouraging women to post detailed descriptions of their periods on the Prime Minister’s official Facebook page, and write her letters and call her office. “The Polish government wants to control our uteri, ovaries, and pregnancies. Isn’t it nice that they care so much? Let us make it easier for them: let’s keep Prime Minister Mrs Beata Szydło informed about the details of our cycles,” wrote the organizers on the event page.

Poles responded in droves. For instance, just one of the posts from her official Facebook page has over 4.5 thousands comments, many marked with the hashtag #TrudnyOkres (“Heavy Period”).

The 500+ program is a government program, paying families with more than one child—regardless of their financial status—additional 500 zl (around 135 USD) on a monthly basis. Single parents with one child do not qualify as beneficiaries in this scheme. The proposed anti-abortion bill defines the union of the egg cell and the sperm cell as the moment the human being begins (with all legal consequences of killing a human implied).

The campaign took its inspiration from a similar action undertaken by women in the US state of Indiana, who started trolling Governor’s Pence office last week with detailed calls about their periods, to protest a restrictive abortion bill.

In less than a day, several thousand comments were left on the Prime Minister Beata Szydło’s page (and their number is still rising), gaining the immediate attention of the Polish media. The hashtag #TrudnyOkres (Heavy Period) peaked also on Twitter, with hundreds of users describing their menstrual hardships by tagging Mrs Szydło’s official Twitter profile, as well.

The ultimate goal of this action? Organizers said it was all about helping the prime minister choke on her own words: “Let’s give them what they really ask for: full control over our reproductive organs and full insight into our femininity. And make them have a really HEAVY PERIOD.”

Read more: globalvoices.org Written by Anna Gotowska


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