Democrats and Republicans alike can learn from the only other country to roll back the legal right to abortion in the last 15 years.
by ELLA CREAMER
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.
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.
“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.
By Deborah Amos, NPR
Published June 23, 2022
LISTEN • 6:58 (with transcript)
LEILA FADEL, HOST:
In 1973, the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion across the United States. Now, nearly 50 years later, it could overturn that decision this month. Abortion activists are concerned about what that means going forward. But could other countries already be providing a snapshot? NPR's Deb Amos reports from Warsaw, Poland, which has the toughest restrictions on abortion in Europe. And a quick warning, there is a brief discussion of rape in this story.
(SOUNDBITE OF PHONE RINGING)
ANTONINA LEWANDOWSKA: Oh, sorry. That's probably an abortion intervention.
BY AMIE FERRIS-ROTMAN
JUNE 21, 2022
In the early days of May, in the third month of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a mother in her early 40s crossed the border into Poland, seeking safety for herself and two teenage children. She also carried with her a secret: as Russians advanced on her hometown, she was raped by Russian soldiers.
She didn’t want anyone to know what happened, according to the Polish NGO that came to her aid. Her husband, who is in the Ukrainian army, was fighting and away from home. Once in Poland, the woman discovered she was pregnant. But getting an abortion in a country with a near-total ban, and navigating this terrain in a new language, was far from simple.
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.
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.
As new laws hit the most vulnerable pregnant women in need of care, volunteers struggle to help those unable to access safe abortions
Rosie Swash and Weronika Strzyżyńska in Warsaw
Sun 23 Jan 2022
An Abortion Dream Team member became the first Polish abortion activist to face the prospect of trial in September, after a man notified the police that his wife ordered abortion pills online. The case is ongoing.
Ferenc believes the latest changes did not fully appease the ruling Law and Justice party’s (PiS) religious base. “Before, abortion was not a topic, no one wanted to talk about it. Now the anti-abortion groups on whose support PiS is relying are demanding blood.”
Demonstrations and candlelit vigil after woman, 30, dies of septic shock in 22nd week of pregnancy
Tue 2 Nov 2021
A Polish hospital has said that doctors and midwives did everything they could to save the lives of a pregnant woman and her foetus in a case that has put the spotlight on the country’s new stricter abortion law.
The 30-year-old woman died of septic shock in her 22nd week of pregnancy. Doctors did not perform an abortion, even though her foetus was lacking amniotic fluid, according to a lawyer for the family.
by The Associated Press
Mon., Nov. 1, 2021
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Polish protesters paid tribute Monday to a woman who died in the 22nd week of pregnancy, with reproductive rights activists saying she is the first person to die as a result of a restriction of Poland’s abortion law.
People lit candles on All Saint’s Day, a religious holiday when Poles visit cemeteries and mourn the dead. They placed the candles in front of Constitutional Tribunal in Warsaw, which issued a ruling last year that led to the tightening of what was already one of Europe’s most restrictive abortion laws.