Thousands of women are expected to go on strike in Poland on Monday (3 October) to protest against a government bill effectively banning them from having abortions.

Women will refuse to go to work on Monday, not send their daughters to school, and wear black to show their opposition to the bill, after thousands demonstrated across Poland over the weekend.

Proposed by Catholic organisation Ordo Iuris, the bill tightens Poland's already restrictive abortion laws, banning abortion even in cases where pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.

It would allow termination of pregnancy only in cases in which a woman's life is directly threatened.

Under Poland's current laws abortion is allowed in cases where the pregnancy is the result of a crime, if the fetus is defective or if the mother's life is in danger.

Women who have an abortion could be punished by up to five years in prison under the bill, and critics argue that doctors may be deterred from performing some medical procedures on pregnant women out of fear of being accused of aiding a termination.

The bill has the support of the Catholic Church as well as sections of Poland's ruling right-wing Law and Justice Party.

The protests were called by pro-choice groups after the bill was sent to be debated at committee stage by MPs.

They will be held in 60 Polish cities, with businesses and corporations pledging to close in solidarity.

"A lot of women and girls in this country have felt that they don't have any power, that they are not equal, that they don't have the right to an opinion," Magda Staroszczyk, a strike coordinator, told The Guardian. "This is a chance for us to be seen, and to be heard."

Groups in favour of the bill plan their own protests, in which demonstrators will wear white.

Pro-choice campaigners in Warsaw
Pro-choice campaigners in Warsaw in June GettyImages