The Polish government has delayed implementing the court decision that sparked recent demonstrations, yet people continue to flood the streets all over the country.








  • to spark – to activate
  • to narrow – to make more limited
  • to bring down – to cause a government to lose power
  • incest – sexual intercourse between closely related persons
  • fetus – an unborn human more than eight weeks after conception
  • congenital – present from birth

Are these sentences True or False?

  1. More than 2400 people have protested in Kościerzyna.
  2. The demonstrations started as a result of a decision in The District Court in Warsaw.
  3. The decision concerns broadening access to abortion in Poland.
  4. Abortion is not allowed in Poland if the pregnancy is the result of lawful sexual intercourse.
  5. Women’s rights activists weren’t concerned about organising demonstrations.

Key: 1. True; 2. False; 3. False; 4. True; 5. False

Practice Makes Perfect

Use the verbs in brackets in the right tense:


People (1) ……… (call) it a revolution. Since October 22nd, hundreds of thousands across Poland (2) ……… (protest) – in five hundred and eighty cities and towns, by one organizer’s count. In some places, including the town of Kościerzyna, population twenty-four thousand, more than ten per cent of residents (3) ………. (take) to the streets. The umbrella term for the protests is “Women’s Strike,” though it’s not just women participating, and it’s not exactly a strike. The demonstrations were sparked by a decision in the nation’s Constitutional Court, in Warsaw, that would have further narrowed access to abortion in Poland. The government (4) …..  since ……… (delay) implementing the decision, yet the protests (5) ……. (go on). The goal now, it seems, is to bring down the government of the right-wing Law and Justice Party (PiS), which (6) …….. (be) in power since 2015.

Abortion is allowed in Poland only if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, if the woman’s life is in danger, or if the fetus is affected by severe congenital defects. The recent court decision, on October 22nd, (7) ……… (eliminate) the last of these three conditions from the list. Klementyna Suchanow, a prominent feminist and author, told me over Zoom, from Warsaw, that, at first, some activists felt conflicted about calling for demonstrations, for fear of exposing people to the risk of coronavirus infection. Still, on the 22nd, Suchanow (8) …….. (make) her way to the courthouse and (9) ……… (find) others gathering outside. “I felt there was so much anger there it was about to erupt,” she said. Protesters (10) ………… (undertake) a spontaneous march from the courthouse to the headquarters of the ruling party, and then to the house of the Party’s leader, Jarosław Kaczyński.


 ANSWERS: 1. are calling; 2. have been protesting; 3. have taken; 4. has delayed; 5. go on; 6. has been; 7. eliminated; 8. made; 9. found; 10. undertook




  • Should abortion be legal, in your opinion?
  • Do you consider the morning after pill the same as abortion?
  • Some people call doctors who carry out abortions “murderers”. What’s your opinion?
  • Do you think women have the right to control their own bodies?
  • Do you sympathize with the pro-life or the “right to choose” argument?
  • Do you think having an abortion is a selfish choice?


Explore it more to create your own teaching-learning experience!

A better way to talk about abortion

Abortion is extremely common. In America, for example, one in three women will have an abortion in their lifetime, yet the strong emotions sparked by the topic — and the highly politicized rhetoric around it — leave little room for thoughtful, open debate. In this personal, thoughtful talk, Aspen Baker makes the case for being neither “pro-life” nor “pro-choice” but rather “pro-voice” — and for the roles that listening and storytelling can play when it comes to discussing difficult topics.