So it (finally) happened. On June, 23rd, Polish Father’s Day, President Andrzej Duda signed the bill prohibiting the sale of ellaOne (the “morning after pill”) without a doctor’s prescription. By doing so, he added another brick to the current government’s mission aimed at limiting the sexual and reproductive rights of Polish women. According to European Commission recommendations, ellaOne has been available without prescription since 2015 and it will now remain so for less than one month. Access to ellaOne under new legislation will present multiple obstacles such as difficulties in finding nearby gynecologists (particularly those willing to give a prescription), short visiting hours (Nappi et al., 2013) and money issues (short-notice visits to gynecologists in Poland usually cost extra). In other words, many women, especially those who are young, from rural areas and not wealthy, will suffer under the new law tremendously.
On reactionary social movements, political opportunities and the antifeminist state
In May 2014 I had the pleasure of taking part in a workshop organised at the University of British Columbia by Professor Susan B. Boyd entitled “Men’s Groups: Challenging Feminism”. The main aim of the workshop was to gather international scholars working on issues such as antifeminism, men’s social movements, mothers’ and fathers’ rights in child custody, domestic violence etcetera. During this two-day event, academics from Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, the United Kingdom, Poland, Sweden, and Taiwan analysed contemporary activism and debates and discourses on the resistance to feminism and discussed how to support the advancement of feminist theories and strategies with regard to preventing the development of antifeminist practices, discourses and legislation all around the world.