Read more about the parents’ action in 2014 described by our researcher Agnieszka Licznerska, here.
Polish parents of adult disabled together with their children are again organising a sit-down strike. On Wednesday (April 18, 2018) they entered the Sejm, the lower house of the Polish parliament. This time they have other opponents. Last time Donald Tusk was the Prime Minister and Jarosław Kaczyński was in opposition. Kaczyński talked to striking parents saying that his party (PIS – Law and Solidarity) is going to use “all available means” to force Donald Tusk’s government to solve this morally important issue. The previous government finally rose benefits for disabled children from c. 400 zlotys (c. 109$) to c. 1400 (384 $). As says Iwona Hartwich, during the first strike, they were asked by Tusk to choose one demand and they chose this one which they considered the most important (money for disabled children under 18 years old), other problems were to be solved by the Round Table. It has never happened. Now PIS rules the country.
Striking parents and parents who support the strike ask the anti-abortion lobby how they interpret their demand to protect the life of the unborn disabled with the lack of support for them after being born.
The strike has given start to ethical reflections in many fields. First of all, striking parents and parents who support the strike ask the anti-abortion lobby (supported by the government and the Church) how they interpret their demand to protect the life of the unborn disabled with the lack of support for them after being born. The anti-abortion movement, with Kaja Godek, mom of a Down syndrome boy, demands the introduction of a ban on abortion under the suspicion of a disabled foetus. Most parent of disabled children perceive Kaja Godek’s demands as attempts to rule their lives and instead they constantly ask the government to make life of the disabled convenient. Lawyers of the government say there is no connection between benefits for the disabled and anti- abortion demands. The famous priest (Ludwik Wiśniewski) from the times of Solidarity calls “Stop abortion” movement pharisee, inhumane, and anti-Christian.
The other aspect are constantly visible attempts at manipulating the Poles and their understanding of ethics. Just recently Polish citizens learned that the government signed the demands of the strikers. It soon however turned out that the government in fact signed the agreement with itself, i.e. the foundation run by the person connected with the Prime Minister, i.e. Mateusz Morawiecki. Jacek Żalek, MP, accused parents of treating their children as human shields and hostages. While Bernardeta Krynicka, threatened to invoke an article to force strikers to leave the Sejm. The strike has also become a problem for the Polish church. Some priests support the strike (Ludwik Wiśniewski) while the others turn away, like the archbishop Hoser who says “We are not the party”.
It soon however turned out that the government in fact signed the agreement with itself.
Now the strike is taking 30 days. The famous solidarity strike with Lech Wałęsa took 17 days and had 21 demands. Striking parents and their disabled children has only one demand: additional 500 zlotys for rehabilitation. The government suggests free “disposable nappies” and other tangible things. The strikers answer they know how to spend the money. One thing has to be clearly underlined: if you are given a benefit, c. 650 zlotych (178 $) you are not allowed to earn a single zloty more, otherwise you lose your benefit. One rehabilitation session is c. 100 zlotys.