Guilty of abetting abortion, Polish woman vows to fight on

Mar 24, 2023

BRUSSELS (AP) — The way Justyna Wydrzyńska sees it, Ania was a victim of domestic violence just like she was. Another child and she’d be trapped. It was 2020. The pandemic lockdowns. Everyone worried that Poland’s borders might close, halting travel and postal services.

Looking to help someone she identified with, Wydrzyńska gave Ania the abortion pills she kept on hand for herself. “I just sent the pills, just shared them, because I thought it would be good for her to have this tool and decide whatever she wants (and can) leave without another kid and be able to get free from this violent relationship,” Wydrzyńska told The Associated Press in Brussels on Thursday.


Polish parliament rejects law banning “promotion of abortion”

MAR 8, 2023
Notes from Poland

Parliament has rejected a bill that would have introduced jail terms for “publicly promoting or calling for abortion” or providing information about how women can obtain abortions in Poland or abroad.

While the legislation – which was submitted to parliament as a so-called citizen’s legislative initiative supported by public signatures – was rejected by a large majority of MPs, over half of members of the conservative ruling coalition’s caucus voted either to allow it to proceed or abstained from voting.


Outcry in Poland over abortion law

Two Polish hospitals refused to terminate the pregnancy of an underage rape victim. The case has sparked controversy over the country's restrictive legislation, with women's rights activists insisting it must be eased.

Jacek Lepiarz
February 5, 2023

A scandal is raging in Polish politics and in the media, concering the shocking case of a 14-year-old rape victim. The girl, who is from the Podlaskie region in northeastern Poland and has mental disabilities, was raped by her own uncle and became pregnant as a result. She was unaware of her condition, but her aunt noticed it and tried to help her get an abortion.

Although the girl had written confirmation from the public prosecutor that she was pregnant as the result of a crime, which gave her the right to a legal abortion, two hospitals in the region refused to carry out the procedure. The province of Podlaskie on the Belarusian border is a bastion of the right-wing conservative Law and Justice Party (PiS), which has been in power in Poland since 2015.


Progressives slam Polish far-right’s bid to criminalize support for abortion

Conservative sections in Poland continue their war against women by gearing up to further tighten the ban on abortion and criminalize supporting or promoting it

January 02, 2023
by Peoples Dispatch

Feminists and other progressives in Poland have condemned the efforts by conservative and far-right groups to further criminalize activities that promote or support abortion in the country. On Wednesday, December 28, under the leadership of the Life and Family Foundation (ŻiR) headed by Kaja Godek, a draft bill titled ‘Abortion is Murder’ was submitted to the lower house of the Polish parliament as a citizens’ initiative signed by more than 150,000 people. The ŻiR Foundation demanded that the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party-led government and parliament approve a bill criminalizing activities that promote or provide support to abortion in Poland.

According to the Life and Family Foundation (ŻiR), “the ‘Abortion is Murder’ bill gives prosecutors new tools with which to charge not only individuals who are found aiding and abetting abortion, but also those who organize facilities to develop this aiding and abetting in a systematic way.”


Strict new abortion laws ignite debate in Poland and expose kinship with U.S.

“For the for the majority of women, it’s not accessible,” the executive director of Poland’s Federation for Women and Family Planning told NBC News.

Dec. 22, 2022
By Matt Bradley, Ewa Galica and Mo Abbas

WARSAW, Poland — Standing in a near-empty rural cemetery, Barbara Skrobol braced against the cold and a potential confrontation: The local priest, she said, doesn’t like the journalists and activists she regularly parades past her sister-in-law’s grave.

“She just wanted to live,” Skrobol said of her brother’s wife, Izabela Sajbor, who died last year from sepsis at the age of 30. An abortion could have saved her life, she said. “We blame not only the doctors because they made a mistake, but we blame the politicians who implemented this law.”


Poland: Lawmaker Faces Charges for Pro-Choice Protest

Targeting MP Escalates Attacks on Women’s Rights, Free Speech

December 4, 2022

(Berlin) – Poland’s government should immediately drop charges against a member of parliament who participated in a pro-choice protest and stop targeting reproductive rights activists, Human Rights Watch said today.

On November 29, 2022, the Toruń prosecutor’s office charged Joanna Scheuring-Wielgus, a member of the Left (Lewica) party, with “offending religious feelings” and “malicious interference with religious worship.” Each offense carries a penalty of up to two years in prison. She pleaded not guilty.


Record support for abortion up to 12 weeks in Poland, finds poll

NOV 16, 2022

Support among the Polish public for allowing access to abortion up to the 12th week of pregnancy has risen to 70%, the highest level ever recorded by pollster Ipsos.

The findings continue a trend that has seen support for abortion rights increase after the October 2020 constitutional court ruling that introduced a near-total ban on abortion, which is now only allowed if the pregnancy threatens the mother’s life or health or if it results from a crime such as rape.


What Poland Tells America About Abortion Politics

Democrats and Republicans alike can learn from the only other country to roll back the legal right to abortion in the last 15 years.


It happened like this: A dogged religious right and a determined set of anti-abortion movers and shakers poured years of work into curbing abortion access. Their efforts swayed conservative politicians, who adopted opposition to abortion as a central ideological goal in a vicious culture war. They appointed conservative judges to the courts, and when the topic of abortion crossed those judges’ dockets, they made a shocking yet predictable ruling that vastly curtailed abortion access.

No, I’m not talking about the U.S. This is what happened in Poland.


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.


For Churches, Abortion Politics Is a Double-Edged Sword

Ireland and Poland went in entirely opposite directions on abortion. Why?

By Amanda Taub
Sept. 21, 2022

For the past several years, as I have struggled to put the escalating tumult of global abortion politics into some sort of order inside my own mind, I have returned over and over to two events.

They happened in different countries, in different years. They produced opposite outcomes. And yet I could not shake the feeling that looking at them together might help me understand something important about the way the world works.