While American vice presidential candidates sparred over abortion laws, millions of women in Poland protested a potential all-out ban on abortion.
Poland already has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe, prohibiting abortions except in cases of rape, incest, an injured fetus or danger to the mother's life. But on Monday, lawmakers voted to reject a proposal for a total ban on abortion after millions of people took to the streets in protest. The protests, which began over the weekend and erupted Monday and Tuesday, were attended by many women donning black and skipping out on work or school.
As female employees across the country stopped working in an attempt to bring the economy to a standstill, more than 30,000 people hit the streets in Warsaw, Poland to protest. Following consecutive days of demonstrations, Poland's leaders informed the public that they wouldn't support what was clearly a divisive plan.
"For the time being the law seems to be off the table, but I would say that this is no reason for celebration," Dutch lawmaker Sophia in 't Veld told Yahoo News. She went on to note that Polish law "still doesn't give women the choice."
Still, the protests were a success. If the ban had passed, as the right-wing Law and Justice party hoped, all abortions — even those that were meant to save the life of the mother — would have been punishable by up to five years in prison.
"A lot of women and girls in this country have felt that they don't have any power, that they are not equal, that they don't have the right to an opinion," Magda Staroszczyk, a strike coordinator, told The Guardian. "This is a chance for us to be seen, and to be heard."
And heard they were.