Fridi (luvdovz) wrote in talk_politics,

Rogue or the new normal? Poland's right-wing dystopia.

While America is reeling with the choice it has made, glimpses of its potential near-future can already be viewed in their full glory in the new reality across the Pond, in one of America's staunchest allies, Poland. They've been having a right-wing government for a while, and now it's decided to cross the line. Except, a huge push-back is forming from the people. The first attempt of the government to start imposing a fundamentalist Catholic regime has been parried by the so called Red Protest. But now, the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party is planning to strike back. All in all, things are looking grim for Poland.

For Life, that's how the new project of the rulers is called. But if we look closer, we might notice that its authors have conveniently omitted to add ...In Suffering. Because that's basically the idea. Believe it or not, the Polish government is indeed a bunch of right-wing extremists, even by American standards. Now they're not shying away from using public funds to cause people suffering, and presenting it as some kind of good.

The perverse idea is not just at the idea stage any more, it's now actually being shaped into a bill, which has already passed the first vote in parliament, and is expected to be approved at the second vote as well. The public won't even learn of the new law's full contents for a while, but the stated intentions and the model behind the proposal is already known. And the prospects look beyond bleak.

As usual, the imposition of a radical form of Christianity onto the political system of a presumably democratic country starts with hitting those who are devoid of any rights and autonomy within that ideology, namely women and children. Of course, that cannot be stated outright by the authorities, so the Polish church and their friendly right-wing strategists have perfected the art of not only presenting the culprit as a victim, but also presenting the victim as beneficient of the new ruling.

4 thousand Polish zloti, or about 900 euro, will be paid to women who decide not to interrupt their pregnancy even when they find out they're carrying a deformed fetus. Even the current restrictive regulations do allow abortion in such cases. In the official propaganda, this is being framed as a "social policy", and "important support for women and their families". In reality, we're talking of something much more different.

The proposal just had to be that pretentious and impressive. The size of these funds had to impress, and indeed, from a first sight it does. Such a one-time payment of nearly 1000 euro is however a drop in the ocean of expenses and needs that follow after a potential decision to look after a kid with that level of deformity. Especially in Poland, where neither the state nor the local authorities provide much support to parents who are forced to abandon their professional life in order to give adequate care to a member of the family who'd remain impaired from day one (the government aid to such families is somewhere between 150-400 euro monthly).

1000 euro is barely enough for providing a decent life in an average-to-big town in Poland - even if you're a healthy, capable, working adult, and even a heterosexual man with high education (which is obviously the PiS' primary base). Let alone a one-time payment of that amount to a woman who has just given birth to a child with severe health problems. But the intent was never to help people after all, remember?

The direct purpose here is actually to create a specific notion of the right of choice of women in Poland, especially poor ones. If this bill beomes a law, it's expected that many of them would be tempted to take this aid in order to pay debt, or solve other financial family problems. In exchange, these women would have to give birth to heavily impaired children and then suffer beside them, while many of those newborn babies are dying - in some cases within days and weeks; in others, the suffering would be a constant torment for years and decades. Not to mention that the expenses they'd have to be paying throughout their life would exceed those alms by orders of magnitude.

Thus, the mother (because in the Polish culture, in such cases the father often gets separated from the family) is forced to first go through the immeasurable trauma of pathological pregnancy and the birth of a child who is known to be barely functional as a human being for the entire duration of their life, however long that may be. Then, there's the prospect of centering her entire life around the care for such a dysfunctional family member, sacrificing everything else in the process. In the meantime, the ruling fundamentalists will be bragging that the government is showing "true interest" in the family's well-being. Or, as the PiS chairman Jaroslaw Kaczynski said, "We will strive to ensure that even in pregnancies which are very difficult, when a child is sure to die, strongly deformed, women end up giving birth so that the child can be baptized, buried, and have a name". THESE ARE HIS ACTUAL WORDS!

Under the cover of such fundamentalist PR, reality becomes truly repulsive. And who'll be making these decisions? Which woman would do such a desperate step? Well, the victims of usury from the quasi-banking institutions offering short-term high-interest loans; the people expecting to be thrown out of their only home for unpaid debt or delayed rent payment; people living in abject poverty whose houses need urgent revamping, or at least closing the gaps in the walls for the winter; those living in such misery that even the social workers are threatening to take their children away (the already-born children). Those who need money right now, and would do anything to at least cover their most urgent needs such as winter shoes for their kids, medicine for their ill parents, and for paying the electricity bills before they remain in the dark... Those are the ones who will be affected. When we're talking of social degradation and a situation that takes even the most basic dignity away from people, Poland provides a truly wonderful array of possibilities and examples.

And yes, there'll sure be women who'll decide to accept that horrifying suffering, theirs and that of their children. Those are kids who'll largely be born in the same manner like the kid that one Dr Bogdan Chazan "saved". That gynecologist was turned into a big hero by the Polish fundie crowd when he forced one of his patients to give birth to a child whose brain was literally pouring out of his forehead through his empty eye-holes!

And all of this will be happening for the sake of a meager and temporary financial relief. The concern about all consequences will be postponed for a little while. According to various analyses, this is far from being the best model of governing one's family budget, especially in cases where it mainly consists of debt.

Now, the Law and Justice party wants to use this vulnerability of the most vulnerable people of the Polish society (how Christian!), and they're doing it with amazing perfidy and crudeness. So what will follow after that? 5 thousand zloti for refusing cancer treatment because God intended you to die in pain? 10 thousand for refusing health insurance because medicine is the work of Satan? 20 thousand if you decide to live without a roof over your head because Jesus said so? Or 50 thousand if you starve yourself to death within a week and stop being a burden and a stain to your fatherland's bright future? We shall see. The Episcopate must certainly be consulting the Polish government and giving private lectures in the back rooms of the Polish parliament on a daily basis. As will the alt-right in the White House, by the way.
Tags: abortion, east europe, legislation, right wing
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