10 badass pics from Poland’s massive protest in support of abortion rights.

Gabriela, a 41-year-old mom from Warsaw, Poland, has had enough of her country's outdated abortion laws.

And she's far from the only person in Poland feeling that way.

Photo by Wojtek Radwanski/AFP/Getty Images.


"I am doing it for my daughter," she told The Independent about skipping work to join the peaceful protest that ended up catching the entire world's attention.

Photo by Wojtek Radwanski/AFP/Getty Images.

Gabriela was one of thousands making a ruckus on Oct. 3, 2016, to stand up for abortion rights in Poland.

Photo by Janek Skarzynski/AFP/Getty Images.

Dressed in dark clothing to commemorate what was dubbed "Black Monday," people took to the streets — in Poland and around the world — to protest a proposed new measure that would outlaw abortion nationally.

Not certain types of abortions or abortions only after a given number of weeks — all abortions.

Photo by Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images.

Protesters wore black in reference to mourning the rights they'd lose should the new measure become law.

How could such a drastic law even be on the table?

After an anti-choice petition began picking up steam — garnering 450,000 signatures — Poland's conservative party in power, called Law and Justice, used the effort to justify making moves to further restrict abortion access by banning the procedure altogether.

Photo by Wojtek Radwanski/AFP/Getty Images.

Legal abortion in predominantly-Catholic Poland is already extremely rare. It's banned, except for when a woman's life is in danger, the fetus is damaged, or in cases of rape or incest.

All of those "except for" instances would be slashed under the new measure. Abortion would be illegal — period.

The new measure wouldn't prevent abortions from happening, of course — they'd just make them much less safe.

Women get abortions, whether or not they're permissible. Study after study has shown this to be true. Ending abortion care would only make life in Poland more dangerous for people who become pregnant but don't wish to become a parent.

One study out of Texas — a state that's seen a steady drop in abortion clinics in recent years — found that, unsurprisingly, self-induced (and riskier) abortion was more common among women who had difficulty accessing reproductive services. As more clinics close, more people fall into this category.

Photo by Wojtek Radwanski/AFP/Getty Images.

In Poland, there were only 1,000 legal abortions last year, yet estimates suggest about 100,000 abortions were carried out illegally or by Polish women who left the country so they could access care.

If Polish officials truly want to prevent abortions from happening, they should focus on methods that actually work, like expanding access to birth control and prioritizing sex education in schools.  

This Ukrainian activist's sign reads "I am for the right of women to decide for themselves." Photo by Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images.

The new measure in Poland might seem far-fetched to some Americans watching from afar, but things could change dramatically here after Nov. 8, too.

GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump has suggested women should be "punished" for getting an abortion. His running mate, Indiana governor Mike Pence, wants Roe v. Wade — the landmark Supreme Court decision guaranteeing a woman's right to choose — "consigned to the ash heap of history, where it belongs."

A conservative U.S. Congress probably wouldn't do much to stop a Trump administration's war on women's rights either.

Photo by Janek Skarzynski/AFP/Getty Images.

We don't have to wait until 2017 to see how the elimination of abortion access could affect American women — we already have the evidence.

Since 2010, 38 states have passed over 300 new abortion restrictions, according to The Guardian. Dozens of abortion clinics, predominantly in the South, West, and Midwest, have closed their doors. This has led to more unsafe abortions and a rise in horror stories medical providers report regularly from women who've lost access to care.

Photo by Janek Skarzynski/AFP/Getty Images.

“These are stories of desperation, not empowerment,” Sarah Roberts, a University of California at San Francisco researcher who's studied the effects of abortion clinic closures, told The Guardian. “These are stories of women going into their medicine cabinets and using things that are in there, or stories of women using illegal drugs, in the hopes that it will end their pregnancies.”

It's a dark reality many Polish women know all too well, and on Black Monday, they refused to stay silent.

The Black Monday strike made waves across dozens of Polish communities, which were essentially forced to shut down due to the protests.

Schools and offices were shuttered in over 60 cities throughout the country, as protesters forced Poland to come to a grinding halt. As you might imagine, it's difficult to carry on business as usual when half the population is preoccupied demanding they be treated like human beings capable of making their own medical decisions.

Photo by Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images.

It appears protesters' message struck a chord with the Polish people as a whole too.

While the new restrictive measure was already unpopular, a new poll out on Black Monday showed the anti-abortion initiative is taking a toll on the conservative party in power that's pressing for the new law's passing: Public support for the Law and Justice party dipped to a new low of just 29% according to one poll. The anti-abortion effort is certainly a factor.

"I am very happy," Elzbieta Turczynska, a protester in Waraw, told the Associated Press. "I treat it as the end of some era, hopefully a very short one, but a really dangerous one for us."

True

When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

4-year-old New Zealand boy and police share toys.

Sometimes the adorableness of small children is almost too much to take.

According to the New Zealand Police, a 4-year-old called the country's emergency number to report that he had some toys for them—and that's only the first cute thing to happen in this story.

After calling 111 (the New Zealand equivalent to 911), the preschooler told the "police lady" who answered the call that he had some toys for her. "Come over and see them!" he said to her.

The dispatcher asked where he was, and then the boy's father picked up. He explained that the kids' mother was sick and the boy had made the call while he was attending to the other child. After confirming that there was no emergency—all in a remarkably calm exchange—the call was ended. The whole exchange was so sweet and innocent.

But then it went to another level of wholesome. The dispatcher put out a call to the police units asking if anyone was available to go look at the 4-year-old's toys. And an officer responded in the affirmative as if this were a totally normal occurrence.

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