Women This Week: Protests Against Poland’s Abortion Law
from Women Around the World and Women and Foreign Policy Program

Women This Week: Protests Against Poland’s Abortion Law

Welcome to “Women Around the World: This Week,” a series that highlights noteworthy news related to women and U.S. foreign policy. This week’s post covers October 30 to November 5.
Demonstrators takes part in a protest against the verdict restricting abortion rights in Warsaw in January 2021.
Demonstrators takes part in a protest against the verdict restricting abortion rights in Warsaw in January 2021. Aleksandra Szmigiel/REUTERS

Polish Abortion Law Under Fire Following Pregnant Women’s Death

Women’s rights activists in Poland are linking the recent death of a pregnant Polish woman, identified only as Izabela, to Poland’s restrictive abortion law that outlaws almost all abortions in the country. A lawyer who represents Izabela’s family said that the doctors’ decision to decline performing a potentially life-saving abortion was due to the restrictive law. While supporters of Poland’s abortion law deny any connection between the law and the woman’s death, women’s rights groups held protests and candlelight vigils for Izabela earlier this week.

Chinese Government Censors #MeToo Accusation Against Former Government Official

Chinese authorities have attempted to remove any mention of a sexual assault allegation against Zhang Gaoli, former vice premier and former member of the Politburo Standing Committee. Peng Shuai, a high-profile professional tennis player, took to Chinese social media platform Weibo to accuse Gaoli of sexual assaulting her three years ago. Shuai’s post was soon removed from the platform, but Twitter users have shared screenshots of her post that accuses Gaoli of sexual assault. In addition to censoring Shuai’s post, it appears the Chinese government also blocked any searches of Shuai’s name in addition to the word tennis. This is the first time that #MeToo allegations have reached the highest levels of the Chinese Communist Party.

UK Police Grapples With Gender-Based Violence Committed By Police Officers

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Women and Women's Rights

Following the murder of Sarah Everard by a London police officer, women’s rights activists have increasingly criticized the police in the United Kingdom for failing to address gender-based violence within the police’s own ranks. A number of recent incidents have fueled the recent criticism, including police officers who shared degrading messages and images relating to female murder victims, a police officer who formed exploitative relationships with domestic violence survivors, and another police officer who admitted to secretly and illegally filming numerous women. Over the past four years, two thousand police staff in the United Kingdom have been accused of sexual misconduct, according to a Channel 4 investigation. Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick released an action plan addressing violence against women and girls on Wednesday.

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Women and Women's Rights