Poland’s ban on abortion forces many to seek help in Germany

A Berlin-based activist group seeks to aid the rising number of women seeking help with abortion in Poland.

By Gouri Sharma
Published On 8 Aug 2022

For Zuzu*, an activist with the Berlin-based group Ciocia Basia that assists people seeking an abortion in neighbouring Poland, fielding calls is just one of many responsibilities she carries out.

Following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Zuzu and other activists working with partner organisation Abortion Without Borders (AWB) told Al Jazeera that the number of calls they are receiving has increased.

Continued: https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2022/8/8/polands-ban-on-abortion-forces-many-to-seek-help-in-germany


A woman faces 3 years in prison for sending abortion pills in Poland. Her case may signal what’s to come in the US.

Anna Medaris
Jul 13, 2022

An activist is facing up to three years in prison for sending abortion medication in Poland, where the procedure is illegal except in cases of rape, incest, and to save the mother's life, Vice World News reported. 

The woman, 47-year-old Justyna Wydrzyńska, is a doula and one of the founders of Abortion Dream Team, which provides education and support for people seeking abortions in Poland.

Continued: https://www.insider.com/woman-faces-3-years-prison-for-sending-abortion-pills-poland-2022-7


Poland – She Sent a Woman Abortion Pills. Now She Faces 3 Years in Prison.

Justyna Wydrzyńska is the first activist charged under Poland’s incredibly strict abortion laws. She tells VICE World News it won't stop her helping people who need abortions.

By Ruby Lott-Lavigna
June 16, 2022

WARSAW, Poland – The woman said she needed an abortion. She said she had already tried to leave Poland to get one, but her abusive husband had stopped her, threatening to go to the police. Across the world, a new virus was closing borders, restricting travel and trapping people inside their homes, and Justyna Wydrzyńska, sensing a chilling desperation, decided to send the woman a packet of abortion pills that she’d been keeping for her own personal use.

A year passed. Then out of nowhere, police arrived at Wydrzyńska’s door to search her home – some officers finding more than they anticipated.

Continued: https://www.vice.com/en/article/akezek/poland-abortion-justyna-wydrzynska


Poland shows the risks for women when abortion is banned

Katrin Bennhold, Monika Pronczuk
14.06.2022

It was shortly before 11 p.m. when Izabela Sajbor realized the doctors were prepared to let her die. Her doctor had already told her that her fetus had severe abnormalities and would almost certainly die in the womb. If it made it to term, life expectancy was a year, at most. At 22 weeks pregnant, Sajbor had been admitted to a hospital after her water broke prematurely.

She knew that there was a short window to induce birth or surgically remove the fetus to avert infection and potentially fatal sepsis. But even as she developed a fever, vomited and convulsed on the floor, it seemed to be the baby’s heartbeat that the doctors were most concerned about.

Continued: https://www.ekathimerini.com/nytimes/1186635/poland-shows-the-risks-for-women-when-abortion-is-banned/


Poland’s abortion underground: with backstreet clinics no more, pills become new battleground

JUN 13, 2022
by Anna Gmiterek-Zabłocka, Radio TOK FM

The days of illegal – and often unsafe – abortions in backstreet clinics are long gone. Instead, a host of NGOs and activists help women obtain self-administered abortion pills, noting that the recent near-total abortion ban has increased awareness and interest in such service. That has led to a backlash from conservative groups, who are calling for the law to be toughened to prevent and more severely punish the distribution of such pills.

It is not difficult to find adverts online for gynaecologists who offer “discreet”, “safe” services “without problems”. Probably for legal reasons, the word “abortion” does not appear. We called one of the numbers.

Continued: https://notesfrompoland.com/2022/06/13/polands-abortion-underground-with-backstreet-clinics-no-more-pills-become-new-battleground/


How women are resisting Poland’s abortion ban

By Costanza Spocci
26 May 2022

Warsaw, Poland – On a cold, hazy December morning, the Ryz sisters stand on a sidewalk of a busy street in Warsaw.

“Shall we go to church?” 24-year-old Olympia asks her sister, Melania, grinning and holding up a dozen pink, yellow and grey stickers with the words, “Abortion is OK”, and the hotline numbers and social media profiles of Polish pro-choice organisations.

Continued: https://www.aljazeera.com/features/longform/2022/5/26/how-women-are-resisting-polands-abortion-ban


How Abortion Pills Changed the Political Debate in Ireland

Analysis by Clara Ferreira Marques
May 17, 2022

If the US Supreme Court overturns the five-decade-old constitutional right to abortion, as expected, many women will find it far harder to end an unwanted pregnancy. But this won’t be a return to pre-1973, largely thanks to changes to medical technology. Abortion pills, often taken at home, are already making the reality of abortion easier and safer in the early stages of gestation. And even with inevitable new restrictions, they are set to change the political fight too.

Sydney Calkin is a senior lecturer in human geography at Queen Mary University of London and the author of a forthcoming book,  “Abortion Beyond Borders: Abortion Pills and the Future of Reproductive Freedoms.” Her work has focused on cross-border abortion access and activism, an area where politics, gender and reproduction overlap. Our conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Continued: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/how-abortion-pills-changed-the-political-debate-in-ireland/2022/05/17/f409c526-d5ed-11ec-be17-286164974c54_story.html


U.N. and advocates raise concerns of abortion access for Ukrainian refugees in Poland

May 17, 2022
PATRICK ADAMS, NPR

Ukrainian women who were raped by Russian soldiers are among the millions of refugees who have fled to Poland.

And they now find themselves in a country that severely restricts access to reproductive health care, including both contraception and abortion.

Continued: https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2022/05/17/994654590/u-n-and-advocates-raise-concerns-of-abortion-access-for-ukrainian-refugees-in-po


What the U.S. Could Learn from Abortion Without Borders

A coalition across Europe is resisting Poland’s abortion ban. Its strategy could foreshadow activism in a post-Roe America.

Anna Louie Sussman, The New Yorker
May 17, 2022

Last month, an abortion-rights activist named Justyna Wydrzyńska stood in a courtroom in Warsaw, Poland, and described her abortion. Her lips were painted a defiant red; her voice cracked at times, but she was unapologetic. When she was thirty-three, she said, she was in an abusive marriage and learned that she was pregnant. She struggled to find accurate information online and had to order three packs of abortion pills—the first two, from the black market, were duds. She was terrified that she would bleed out or fall unconscious in front of her three children, who were too young to call an ambulance. Wydrzyńska, who is forty-seven, is now part of a coalition of activists called Abortion Without Borders. She was on trial for helping another Polish woman get an abortion.

Abortion was legal when Poland was under Communist control, but, in 1993, the predominantly Catholic country outlawed most abortions, except in cases of rape, incest, severe fetal conditions, and risk to the life of the patient. As the U.S. Supreme Court considers Roe v. Wade and giving states the ability to ban abortion, the diverse, international coalition of Abortion Without Borders may model an effective approach to abortion-rights activism in a post-Roe America—and also its risks.

Continued: https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/what-the-us-could-learn-from-abortion-without-borders


Ukrainian refugees reignite abortion debate in Poland

Tuesday, 19 April 2022
By Liv Klingert

The controversial debate on abortion in Poland has been reignited following the arrival of Ukrainian women refugees who have been victims of sexual violence by Russian soldiers in Ukraine.

Under current restrictive abortion laws, it is uncertain whether women who become pregnant through rape and seek refuge in Poland can still have legal and safe abortions there, De Standaard reported.

Continued: https://www.brusselstimes.com/belgium/218090/ukrainian-refugees-ignite-abortion-debate-in-poland