Man to face court in Poland for helping partner have abortion

SEP 26, 2023
Notes from Poland

A man will face court for helping his partner to unlawfully terminate her pregnancy, a crime in Poland that can carry a prison sentence of up to three years. The woman herself is not facing charges as, although helping someone obtain an unlawful abortion is a criminal offence, having one yourself is not.

…In May this year, police in Pinczów, a town of 11,000 inhabitants in southern Poland, received information that a 29-year-old woman had had a miscarriage and that she and her 30-year-old partner had buried the foetus.


Polish activist says she won’t stop swearing after guilty ruling

Sept 23, 2023

Julia Landowska never thought of herself as a crusader for free speech until she got a $15 fine for swearing in public during a protest against Poland’s strict abortion laws.

Ms. Landowska is a 23-year-old medical student in Gdansk and rarely paid much attention to politics until October, 2020, when Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal issued a ruling that banned access to abortion in all circumstances except cases of sexual assault or incest or if the woman’s life or health were at risk. The decision prompted widespread demonstrations against the populist Law and Justice party, or PiS, which has been accused of politicizing the tribunal.


There Are Now Tests That Can Detect If Someone Took Abortion Pills

The chilling development comes out of Poland, where prosecutors have already used the tests to investigate pregnancy outcomes, reports the New York Times.

By Susan Rinkunas, Jezebel
Sept 14, 2023

Scientists in Poland have reportedly developed lab tests that can detect whether people have taken abortion pills—and those tests are already being used to investigate pregnancy outcomes under the country’s abortion ban. This is an alarming development, to say the least, and unfortunately, it feels like it’s only a matter of time before a U.S. state replicates the effort.

According to a bone-chilling piece in the New York Times, Polish scientists have developed tests that can identify both mifepristone and misoprostol, the drugs typically used in a medication abortion. (Though some people do use misoprostol alone.) The studies were part of a research project funded by the Polish government where researchers were able to find evidence of misoprostol in the placenta and mifepristone in a woman’s blood sample. A spokesperson for a prosecutor’s office in Wroclaw confirmed to the Times that Polish authorities have already used the tests to investigate pregnancy outcomes.


In Poland, Testing Women for Abortion Drugs Is a Reality. It Could Happen in the U.S.

Sept. 14, 2023
By Patrick Adams

Nearly three years ago, Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal effectively ended legal abortion in the country. Since then, the Polish government has vigorously repressed the nation’s reproductive rights movement and ramped up surveillance of women who are suspected of terminating their pregnancies. Authorities have violently dispersed demonstrations, threatened activists with prison time and ordered doctors to record all pregnancies in a new national database.

Even before Roe v. Wade was overturned last summer, Poland’s draconian crackdown, which was spearheaded by the governing right-wing Law and Justice party, should have been alarming to American supporters of abortion rights. It was always possible that some aspects of what has happened there could happen here.


Poland: Abortion Witch Hunt Targets Women, Doctors

Criminalization, Pursuit of Alleged Offenders Violates Rights

September 14, 2023
Human Rights Watch

(London) – Poland’s government is targeting people for alleged abortion-related activities, intensifying a climate of fear that heightens risks for women and girls, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch released a video highlighting how the government’s dubious use of its powers to chase down alleged abortion-related activity threatens people’s rights to privacy, autonomy, and health, amongst others.

Since a near-ban on legal abortion in 2020, Polish officials have increasingly opened investigations on questionable legal grounds against women and girls seeking medical care for miscarriages or after legal medication abortions, as well as against doctors. Polish law does not criminalize having an abortion but rather anyone who provides or assists someone in having an abortion outside of highly restricted grounds. The government is apparently attempting to find a basis for prosecuting family members, friends, and healthcare providers for illegally providing or assisting abortions.


Abortion cannot be permitted on mental health grounds, declares Polish church

SEP 5, 2023
Notes from Poland

Poland’s Catholic church has declared that it is not legal, ethical or beneficial to women to allow abortion on the grounds that the mother suffers from a mental health problem. Permitting this would effectively mean “the relegalisation of abortion on demand”, warn the bishops.

Their position – which is contradicted by leading medical bodies – has been rejected by reproductive rights organisations in Poland, who also argue that the church has misinterpreted or misrepresented the law.


Polish opposition removes candidate over support for unlimited abortion access

AUG 24, 2023
Notes from Poland

Poland’s main opposition group, the centrist Civic Coalition (KO), has removed a candidate from its electoral lists after she called for allowing abortion at any stage of pregnancy. Though KO wants to liberalise Poland’s strict abortion law, it supports allowing terminations only up to the 12th week of pregnancy.

“Civic Coalition does not support this solution [of late-term abortion],” said one of its leaders, Małgorzata Kidawa-Błońska. “We have a ‘Pact for Women’. We will implement it. But politics is not about stunts, it is a serious matter and the words you say matter a lot.”


Ukraine ‘Abortion Fairy’ Helps Refugees in Poland

For many women fleeing the war, Poland’s restrictive abortion laws came as a surprise.

by AFP
August 23, 2023

As a survivor of an attempted rape in Poland, Ukrainian Nastya Podorozhnya knows how lonely the struggle of a woman living in a foreign country can be.

This was why the 26-year-old -- a “Ukrainian abortion fairy in Poland,” as she describes herself on Instagram -- has made it her goal to help refugee women exercise their reproductive rights in the country with a near-total abortion ban.

Podorozhnya moved to Poland in 2014 to study, and it was during her university years that she fell victim to sexual violence.


Outcry in Poland after claims that prosecutors drained cesspit in abortion probe

Reproductive rights dominate pre-election debate in Poland after reports of law enforcement targeting women for suspected abortions.

JULY 27, 2023

WARSAW — The political row over sexual and reproductive rights in Poland has reignited after local media reported Wednesday that a woman who miscarried had her house’s cesspit drained in search of the fetus on orders of a prosecutor seeking to find out if the miscarriage was in fact an abortion.

The report is the latest in a series of high-profile incidents concerning Polish authorities’ heavy-handedness around abortion laws and has sparked public outcry ahead of the country’s general election in October.


Women in Poland protest alleged police hostility against patient who took abortion pill

July 25, 2023
The Associated Press

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Hundreds of women in Poland protested outside police stations Tuesday to oppose the allegedly ruthless way officers treated a woman who had taken an abortion pill.

The protests in Krakow, Warsaw and some other cities were intended to show solidarity with the woman and to condemn police shaming practices.