‘Necessary to Disobey Harmful Laws’: These ‘Abortion Pirates’ Want Equal Access to Abortion Pills Worldwide

A colorful crowd of doctors, researchers and women’s activists convened in the Latvian capital to explore ways to use pills to circumvent anti-abortion laws.

By EMILY SCHULTHEIS
11/26/2022

RIGA, Latvia — For two sunny, crisp autumn days in mid-September, Riga’s Stradiņš University felt like the epicenter of a self-styled global civil rights movement: to give every person, in every culture or country, regardless of laws, access to abortion pills.

In the hallways, women pored over posters showing the latest research on the effectiveness of abortion pills and other developments in abortion and contraception care. Representatives from pharmaceutical companies enthusiastically pitched their medications and products to doctors sipping coffee and tea during a break between panels. There were graphic novels about an at-home medical abortion and T-shirts printed with women’s self-stated reasons for ending a pregnancy; there were slogans printed on T-shirts like “Make Abortion Legal Again” and a video promoting abortion rights to the tune of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.”

Continued: https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2022/11/26/global-abortion-rights-movement-latvia-00069224


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/


‘Women are treated like walking incubators’: Malta’s fight for abortion

The island nation is the only country in the EU in which termination is still illegal under any circumstances, forcing women to have the procedure abroad or else risk prosecution. But women’s rights groups are pushing for change

by Rachel Cooke
Sun 19 Jun 2022

Elle doesn’t find it easy to talk about her
abortion, not because she regrets it – she would do the same again without any
hesitation – but because the memory of the terrible, almost overwhelming, fear
and isolation she experienced at the time still makes her feel so angry. “I’m
privileged,” she says, twisting the ring on her index finger. “I could afford
to travel. But what about those less fortunate than me? I know of a woman who
felt so desperate when she found out she was pregnant again, she put her three
children in front of some cartoons on the TV, and went straight upstairs to the
bathroom to begin launching herself from the toilet on to the floor in the hope
of inducing a miscarriage.” She’s fighting tears now. “That woman almost killed
herself. What about her? Does anyone want to hear her story?”

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jun/19/the-fight-for-abortion-in-malta


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


Poland’s Anti-Abortion Laws Obstruct Humanitarian Assistance to Ukrainian Pregnant Refugees and Rape Survivors

As sexual violence on children and young women is increasingly reported, pregnant women, including rape survivors, struggle to access sexual healthcare under Poland’s strict abortion laws

by Mathilde Grandjean 
April 20, 2022

Since the start of the war, over 4.6 million Ukrainian refugees – 90% of whom are women and children – have fled their homes to seek sanctuary in neighbouring countries. Poland has received the highest number of displaced Ukrainians, as nearly 3 million refugees have entered the country since February. Amongst them are rape survivors and pregnant refugees in urgent need of medical help, including access to emergency contraception and abortion.

However, Poland’s near-total ban on abortion added to a lack of key sexual and reproductive health medicines and products obstruct humanitarian efforts to provide medical assistance to rape survivors and refugees who wish to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.

Continued:  https://impakter.com/poland-anti-abortion-laws-obstruct-humanitarian-assistance-to-ukrainian-pregnant-refugees-and-rape-survivors/


Pregnant Ukrainian refugees struggle to access abortion after escaping war for Poland

Abortion and rights groups have told i that Ukrainian women raped during the war have been unable to access terminations

By Isabella Bengoechea, Alannah Francis
April 16, 2022

Pregnant Ukrainian refugees including victims of rape who fled to Poland are struggling to access abortions.

Abortion providers and civil society groups have warned that women who have escaped from Ukraine are being denied terminations under Poland’s near-total ban on the procedure.

Continued: https://inews.co.uk/news/pregnant-ukrainian-refugees-struggle-to-access-abortion-after-escaping-war-for-poland-1579458


Europe – The abortion travel agents: ‘Some women know what they need, others just say: help’

With reproductive rights being increasingly restricted in Europe, people are relying on a network of volunteers to help them

Introduction Margaret Atwood
Interviews Candice Pires
Sat 19 Feb 2022

When The Handmaid’s Tale first came out in 1985, the initial response was broadly that people thought such threats to women’s bodies and reproductive rights “couldn’t happen here”. By the time it aired as a TV series in 2017, just after Donald Trump was inaugurated in the US, people were no longer so sure. With every headline about gains in reproductive rights – Ireland repealing the eighth amendment in 2018, which had effectively banned abortions – there are others that underscore how fragile these rights are, wherever you live.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/19/the-abortion-travel-agents-some-women-know-what-they-need-others-just-say-help-europe-margaret-atwood


Abortion Without Borders has helped almost 32,000 people from Poland

Abortion Without Borders (Aborcja Bez Granic)
has helped almost 32,000 people from Poland to access abortions in its second
year of existence.

Published on December 11, 2021

Abortion Without Borders is a grassroots feminist network that was launched on
11 December 2019 to help anyone in Poland access a safe abortion in Poland or
abroad. In the face of fresh attempts by Poland to criminalise women for having
abortions, Abortion Without Borders continues to help people who need support,
including 1,186 who were forced to travel to a clinic or hospital in another
country. 

At least two women died this year after being denied an abortion for a
pregnancy that was threatening their lives. Poland criminalised almost all
abortions in a constitutional tribunal ruling in October 2020, and the last few
weeks have seen attempts by the Polish government to criminalise what little
abortion access remains in the country.

Continued: https://womenhelp.org/pl/page/1383/abortion-without-borders-helps-almost-32-000-polish-people-in-second


Poland abortion laws: Woman’s death spurs calls for change

Izabel’s case has intensified demands to loosen Poland’s laws, which are among the most restrictive in Europe.

By Urooba Jamal, Al Jazeera
1 Dec 2021

If Anka Adamczyk were to ever have a child, she would leave Poland to give birth. “It’s … super scary,” the 35-year-old told Al Jazeera by phone from Warsaw. “The consequences are so horrible that I would really not take the risk.”

She is among the women who are now struggling to even consider childbirth because of the country’s strict abortion laws, which have seen doctors refuse to terminate pregnancies even when complications pose a fatal risk.

Continued: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/12/1/poland-abortion-laws-womans-death-spurs-calls-for-change