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.