Education Resource

Meet the Journalist: Alex Cocotas

Since gaining an outright parliamentary majority in October 2015, Poland's Law and Justice Party has waged a continuous campaign against women's rights. In particular, they have targeted reproductive rights, sending a proposed ban on abortion to the parliamentary floor in September 2016 . The law, Coctas tells us, would spell "an end to all forms of abortion in Poland, prison sentences for women who have illegal abortions, criminal investigations into 'suspicious' miscarriages, and restricted access to antenatal testing, since doctors would be wary of unintentionally inducing miscarriage."

In retaliation, 100,00 outraged citizens across the country demonstrated against the government on October 3, 2016, in a series of protests that have come to be known as "Black Monday." Journalist Alex Cocotas, who was in Poland during the protests, spoke with organizers and activists who told him about Poland's history with abortion, including an effective ban that has in place since 1993—and the 150,000 women who find their way around it every year. The result was an article in The Guardian's Long Read that covers the history of the abortion law in Poland, how Polish women elude the law, and the Polish government’s continuing attempts to further restrict access to abortion, which has intensified in recent months.