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The Politics of Morality: The Church, the State, and Reproductive Rights in Postsocialist Poland

Author: Joanna Mishtal

Ohio University Press, Athens, Ohio, 2015, pp. 272

After the initial hopes for democracy and freedom after the fall of the state socialist regime in 1989, political forces that had been dormant during the state socialist era began to emerge, and to establish a new religious-nationalist orthodoxy. Solidarity, which played a key role in ending the communist regime, had worked quietly with the Catholic Church. Most Poles were at least nominally Catholics. As the Church emerged as a political force in the Polish Sejm and Senate, it promoted a rapid erosion of women’s reproductive rights, especially the right to abortion established under the former regime. This book is an anthropological study of this expansion of power by the religious right and its effects on individual rights and social attitudes. It explores the contradictions of postsocialist democratization in Poland and provides the background to the advance on abortion rights activism in Poland.