Polish pro-lifers arrested for displaying graphic abortion posters
POLAND, August 13, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Pro-life advocates in Poland have been arrested on two different occasions recently for displaying signs depicting babies who have been killed by abortion.
Mariusz Dzierżawski, founder of the Warsaw-based PRO Foundation and one of Poland’s most prominent and active pro-life leaders, told LifeSiteNews he and a fellow PRO Foundation member were arrested at a music festival on August 2. They were gathering petition signatures for total protection of the unborn in Poland and displaying a pro-life poster showing Hitler, pictures of aborted babies, and a child with Down syndrome.
Abortion is illegal in Poland except to save a mother’s life and health, in the case of rape or incest, or when a fetal disease or deformation is diagnosed.
Dzierżawski said the incident occurred at the Polish Woodstock Festival (Przystanek Woodstock), held in the western Polish city of Kostrzyn. The PRO Foundation has for many years set up a display of graphic abortion pictures at the event in order to promote discussion among attendees.
He noted that one woman, after viewing the pictures of aborted babies, said to him, “This is a very good place to discuss abortion because people are having fun here and certainly some of the girls will get pregnant afterwards…. They should be reminded to think about what they are doing and to be responsible.”
The two pro-lifers were hustled into a police van and their poster was confiscated, Dzierżawski said, adding that the police arrested them even though their display at the music festival was legal.
Dzierżawski said that Polish law does not require them to obtain a permit to set up their display in a public space such as this music festival, and the city authorities had been properly informed. He said police acted after an unnamed person reported that indecent material was being shown.
“The PRO Foundation has been to court six times for showing the truth about abortion,” Dzierżawski said, “and all of the previous lawsuits were resolved in favor of the Foundation.”
“The police apprehended us under an absurd charge of presenting indecent images in public - a charge dismissed in courts on multiple occasions so far,” Dzierżawski told LifeSiteNews.
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“The police are currently trying to make it seem like they never actually apprehended us, but only apprehended the banner we were holding, for further explanation. Their aim was to stop our rally.”
Dzierżawski said that he has filed a complain for “unlawful apprehension” and are “going to file a notification on suspicion of committing a criminal offense by the police officers who pre-empted a legal assembly.”
“Recently we have organized scores of pro-life exhibitions and rallies. The abortionists simply can’t stand it. They are trying to stop us using the police. We are facing an assault on free speech and the freedom of public debate. We are going to defend this freedom,” Dzierżawski said.
A retired judge told Razem TV, a Catholic internet TV service in Poland, that he believes the action of the police against the pro-lifers was illegal.
“In my opinion the police violated elementary rules of the legal order, when they shut down the pro-life exhibition,” said Wiesław Johan, retired judge of the Polish Constitutional Tribunal. “The police are to ensure order and safety for us, the citizens. The way the police acted there, was, in my opinion, against the law. Everybody has the right to protest, everybody has the right to partake in an assembly, everybody has the right to express their views. I am not making this up, these rules come from the Polish Constitution.”
He added that he hopes that protests condemning what the police did will cause the authorities to take appropriate action towards the police officers who “broke the law that day.”
In another incident that took place on August 7, a member of the PRO Foundation was arrested and charged with “showing indecent pictures in public” for organizing a graphic abortion picture exhibit in Warsaw.
An exhibit titled “Choose Life,” which uses the graphic abortion posters of the U.S. based Center for Bioethical Reform, which had been set up at a Catholic church in the Ursynów district of Warsaw, had been vandalized repeatedly, according to organizer Kinga Małecka-Prybyło.
However, when she complained to police, Mrs. Małecka-Prybyło said she herself was charged with “causing a public scandal by arranging for the placement of obscene advertisements containing pictures showing images of human fetuses and their fragments, in violation of art. 51 § 1 and in connection with art. 141 of code violations.”
Mrs. Małecka-Prybyło explained that she told the police that the “Choose Life” display was an educational exhibit that had already been shown in 300 different locations in Poland.
She said she also informed police of the six previous failed court attempts by pro-abortionists to silence the exhibit in their complaints against the Pro Foundation and the “Choose Life” display. She said that though the images are dreadful, “how else can this horrible deed be shown for what it is?”
In an interview with LifeSiteNews, Mrs. Małecka-Prybyło said it is troubling that the police are being used to silence the freedom of expression of pro-lifers by using laws enacted to fight pornography.
“It worries me a lot that charges have brought against those who are fighting to protect the weakest. And that the laws which the police are citing against us today have been instituted to protect the public space from pornography. These laws are now being used to gag people fighting for the basic human right - the right to life,” Mrs. Małecka-Prybyło said.
“Anti-abortion exhibitions provoke meaningful thoughts and debates. I hope that many people will wake up and see that we are facing a great threat to our civil liberties, including the freedom to express your views.”
Asked what she thinks about the argument that seeing graphic abortion pictures is harmful to children, Mrs. Małecka-Prybyło said, “As a mother, I think that the ‘Choose Life’ exhibition of graphic abortion pictures is a great opportunity to provoke deep and important discussions with children of all ages about the value of human life. Children who learn early on, from their parents, that human life is sacred, inviolable and must be protected from conception - will not, in the future, yield to false rhetoric about the ‘choice’ to decide about somebody else’s life.
“Even the youngest children need to see their parents’ clear and unambiguous position on these issues, and they need serious conversations with us. If you approach this subject like this, the children will surprise you with their maturity and simple reasoning on the value of life. My 3-year old son understood perfectly that some children’s lives are in danger and that it’s extremely important that we protect the babies living under their mother’s hearts, especially those, who are ill. I think we should talk to our children about life issues as early as possible, before somebody else reaches them with a completely different message.”
In an extraordinary interview with (http://razem.tv/) Razem TV, Mrs. Małecka-Prybyło’s son Maksymilian, who is now five years old, offered these insights about the pictures in the “Choose Life” exhibition. He has been helping his mom set up the graphic abortion pictures since he was three.
Question: What do you think about those pictures?
Maksymilian: I think that you really need to keep doing those exhibitions, or else it will start all over again. It is almost good now, but it will be much worse if they’re not here.
Q: But these are not pictures that children like, right? Do you like those pictures?
Maksymilian: No. But I already understand that this is evil. I didn’t understand it some time ago, but the time has come now that I do understand it.
Q: Are you interested in those issues?
Maksymilian: Yes, a little.
Maksymilian: I don’t understand what this whole abortion is for. At all.
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