Poland: Prosecuting activist accused of aiding abortion ‘sets a dangerous precedent’

January 10, 2023
Amnesty International

Charges against an activist facing up to three years in prison accused of helping a pregnant woman access abortion pills in Poland must be dropped, said Amnesty International today ahead of the resumption of her trial in Warsaw tomorrow.

In November 2021, the prosecutor charged human rights defender Justyna Wydrzyńska with “helping with an abortion” and “possession of medicines without authorization for the purpose of introducing them into the market”.

Continued: https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2023/01/poland-prosecuting-activist-accused-of-aiding-abortion-sets-a-dangerous-precedent/


The fight for women’s rights is a fight against authoritarianism

Ma, Women’s rights director at Human Rights Watch
Jan 2, 2023

We know progress is never linear, and defence of human rights can be a difficult task. Women’s rights gains, however, are particularly fragile. Often disguised in concepts that are presented as harmless, such as the protection of the family and children, or the protection of societal traditions, governments limit women’s autonomy, as if these restrictions were not politically motivated and did not amount to human-rights violations.

Examples of egregious restrictions on women’s rights are not hard to find. The Chinese government’s population policies treat women as “wombs” subject to forced abortions or forced pregnancies depending on the “needs” of the country; Iran’s morality police have brutally enforced compulsory hijab laws on women; Qatar criminalizes extramarital sex where pregnancy acts as evidence against women; Russia and Turkey are deliberately walking back protections against domestic violence; in Afghanistan, the Taliban are once again denying women and girls education, work and most basic freedoms.

Continued: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-the-fight-for-womens-rights-is-a-fight-against-authoritarianism/


After Roe, abortion’s underground railroad gains steam

A network of activists is helping women terminate pregnancies in countries where the procedure is banned.

BY CARLO MARTUSCELLI, EMILY SCHULTHEIS, MANDOLINE RUTKOWSKI AND JAKUB KORUS
OCTOBER 29, 2022

RIGA — If you want to get an abortion in Poland, Kinga Jelinska is happy to help. Legally terminating your pregnancy is almost impossible in the Eastern European country. Abortion is only allowed in the case of rape or incest, or when it threatens the life of the woman.

That’s where Jelinska comes in. She’s the co-founder and executive director of Women Help Women, an Amsterdam-based nonprofit that helps provide women with the pills needed for an at-home medical abortion. The service Jelinska’s group provides falls into a legal grey zone; self-induced abortion is illegal in a number of countries, but in Poland, it’s not explicitly banned. 

Continued: https://www.politico.eu/article/roe-v-wade-europe-abortion-pill-illegal-underground-network/


Polish activist on trial for aiding abortion

A Polish human rights activist has been accused of illegally giving abortion pills to a woman seeking to end a pregnancy. She's now on trial in a Warsaw court, facing up to three years in prison.

Monika Sieradzka
Oct 18, 2022

It's a gray morning in Warsaw, where a couple dozen police officers have encircled the courthouse with 10 large vehicles. They are here to protect two large demonstrations at what is expected to be a spectacular trial.

Some 50 people have gathered in front of the building in the Polish capital to show their solidarity with Justyna Wydrzynska, a 48-year-old activist from the Abortion Dream Team network who stands accused of aiding and abetting a pregnancy termination. That's against the law in Poland, and carries a sentence of up three years in prison.

Continued: https://www.dw.com/en/poland-activist-on-trial-in-warsaw-for-aiding-abortion/a-63483151


I won’t stop, says Polish abortion activist as court hearing adjourned

By Joanna Plucinska and Anna Koper
October 14, 2022

WARSAW, Oct 14 (Reuters) - A court on Friday adjourned a hearing on whether a prominent activist broke Polish law by supplying pills to trigger an abortion, as she pledged to continue helping women terminate unwanted pregnancies.

Along with Malta, Poland's anti-abortion laws are among the most restrictive in Europe, and campaigner Justyna Wydrzynska faces up to three years in jail if convicted of facilitating a termination.

Her case, which rights group Amnesty International and campaigners say is the first of its kind in Europe, was adjourned until January after key witnesses failed to appear.

Continued: https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/i-wont-stop-says-polish-abortion-activist-court-hearing-adjourned-2022-10-14/


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


Is Europe next? Concerns over abortion rights rise after Supreme Court overturns Roe

“The fact it’s become a talking point is a massive step forward. Whatever anyone’s views are on abortion, it’s not helpful if we can’t talk about it,” one abortion rights opponent said.

Aug. 7, 2022
By Patrick Smith

LONDON — Abortion rights opponents have long been stuck on the fringes of politics in much of Western Europe. The Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn Roe v. Wade has many in the movement hoping that is about to change.

That abortion was thrust into the headlines and onto the agenda has been a big step forward, said Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, a co-director of March for Life U.K., an annual event in September in London.

Continued: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/europe-concerns-abortion-rights-rise-supreme-court-overturns-roe-rcna38651


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 has some of the strictest abortion laws in Europe. Izabela Sajbor’s family say those laws are responsible for her death

By Saskya Vandoorne and Melissa Bell, CNN
Wed June 29, 2022

Warsaw, Poland (CNN) Izabela Sajbor knew for weeks that the baby she was carrying was unlikely to live long. On September 22 last year, she realized both their fates were sealed.

"I hope I won't get sepsis because then I won't leave this place," the 30-year-old wrote in a series of distraught text messages to her mother, just 12 hours before she died.

https://www.cnn.com/2022/06/28/europe/poland-abortion-law-izabela-sajbor-death-intl-cmd/index.html


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