International Safe Abortion Day 2019 in Poland

This theme for 28th September 2019 is “Abortion is Healthcare” with the tagline “My Right to Decide!” and hashtag #MyAbortionMyHealth. In The Federation we have always seen abortion as a matter of health, self-determination, freedom and democracy. Therefore, our input to the celebration of September, 28 is the photo contest and exhibition entitled “Abortion. Poland. 21st century”.

We have decided to organise the photo competition in order to use art as means of reflection on the situation of women in Poland. Our goal was to have members of the wider public – artists, activists, observers and others – use photography as a tool for diagnosing and showing us the whole spectrum of social phenomena, paradoxes, manipulations and outright lies that surround abortion in Poland today. Three years after the massive mobilization of the #BlackProtest and #WomenStrike, we are seeking to encourage women and their supporters to show us how they go around the restrictive laws. We know that this is exactly what happens and it is estimated that around 130k Polish women terminate their pregnancies annually.

We wanted to see how something as normal as abortion became so emotionally charged – because in order to normalize abortion and re-start the conversation and public debate around it we need to underline this hypocrisy and yawning gap between the public discourse, the law, and the reality of life that’s made of choices, including the one on terminating one’s pregnancy.

The photography was chosen so as to allow the public to represent both individual and social consequences of living in the country where abortion is illegal apart from 3 exceptions, but even then hardy accessible.

On 27th of September we held a vernissage and awarded authors of the best photographs chosen by the jury. We also presented the photo album which combines most moving photographs with texts that shed more light on abortion realities in Poland. The album shows more pictures than those shown in the exhibition.

Our guests had a unique opportunity to observe emotions surrounding the procedure when it’s allowed under the three exceptions and when it’s performed in the underground.

Download the catalogue “Abortion. Poland. 21st century” (in Polish)


1st place for “the highest note for the content, form and artistic tools” 👉 “My body, your country, my choice?” by Anna-Kristina Bauer

2nd place for “the most powerful message and clear symbolism” 👉 “Coathangers” by Bartłomiej Kuzia

3rd place for “visual and colour coherence, message and light”   👉 “Still fighting” by Anna Juszkiewicz

“It’s time” by Daniel Zarewicz for “story and climate of urban guerilla” 

“Goods” by Patrycja Maciaszek for “ambigous and interesting interpretation of the topic”

“Silent red” by Jacek Orzeł for “the idea and refined realization”


Another celebration of the International Safe Abortion Day is The Second Pro-Choice March. More details

Last year’s edition gathered 2-3 thousand people.