Justyna Wydrzynska convicted of illegally offering abortion drugs in Poland



A Polish court docket convicted a human rights activist on Tuesday of illegally offering abortion drugs and sentenced her to eight months of group service, in a case that has resonance for a post-Roe United States.

For many years, majority-Catholic Poland has had a few of Europe’s strictest abortion legal guidelines, which had been tightened additional in 2020 by banning exceptions for instances of fetal abnormalities. Whereas performing an abortion on your self is authorized, aiding another person will not be.

Justyna Wydrzynska, who co-founded Abortion Dream Crew that gives folks with details about methods to safely terminate their pregnancies, instructed The Washington Publish that her case was being utilized by the federal government to set an instance and “shut the mouths of all of the activists in Poland.”

Polish abortion activist’s trial hints at a post-Roe future in U.S.

“They won’t succeed on this as a result of we aren’t afraid of them. I’m not afraid of the decision,” she stated the day earlier than it was introduced.

In her closing assertion in court docket earlier than the decision, Wydrzynska wept and described her personal experiences of home violence and the way she wished to assist others.

The case has had specific resonance in america following the overturning of Roe v. Wade in June 2022, and a number of other states putting in restrictive abortion legal guidelines. Whereas the Biden administration has stated abortion drugs are approved as secure and efficient for use in all 50 states, offering them to folks within the 11 states the place abortion is now unlawful stays a grey space.

In Texas, for example, a person has filed a wrongful-death go well with in opposition to three ladies who assisted his now ex-wife in buying the medicine to terminate her being pregnant within the first such case introduced for the reason that state’s close to whole abortion ban handed.

Whereas abortion in Poland remains to be permitted in instances of rape, incest or risk to the mom’s life, there’s successfully a complete ban since discovering a health care provider to hold out an abortion below these circumstances is troublesome.

Rape victims should present a certificates from a prosecutor for the process, and lots of medical doctors are afraid to supply care to pregnant folks experiencing obstetric emergencies out of concern of breaking the regulation.

One pregnant lady, 30-year-old Izabela Sajbor, died of septic shock at a Polish hospital in September 2021 after medical employees refused to deal with her till her fetus died, her lawyer stated. In January 2022, a second lady generally known as Agnieszka T. died within the first trimester of a twin being pregnant after medical doctors, cautious of violating the regulation, refused to hold out an abortion when the heartbeat of 1 fetus stopped.

Acquiring abortion drugs, nonetheless, stays comparatively straightforward, Wydrzynska stated. “What is hard and fairly powerful, is that it’s a must to do every part by your self.”

The girl Wydrzynska is accused of giving abortion drugs to has been recognized as Ania. In accordance with a briefing on the case, printed by the Worldwide Deliberate Parenthood Federation, she reached out to Abortion with out Borders in February 2020. She determined to have an abortion, however threats from her husband prevented her from touring to a clinic in Germany.

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Because the coronavirus pandemic picked up velocity and worldwide mail turning into much less dependable, and Wydrzynska posted Ania the abortion drugs from her home. Ania’s husband reportedly discovered the drugs, nonetheless, and known as police, who confiscated them. Ania stated the stress of the police investigation led her to miscarry.

Wydrzynska’s dwelling was searched and police found mifepristone and misoprostol, frequent abortion medicines, and 5 months later, in November 2021, she was charged with possession of unauthorized medicines and aiding an abortion.

Regardless of the sentence, Wydrzynska describes the eye the case has drawn as a hit for abortion rights activism.

“We actually succeeded. Due to the case everyone is aware of on this nation about Abortion with out Borders — that we assist not solely logistically, but in addition financially. All people is aware of you could order abortion drugs and it’s straightforward and authorized.”

All through the trial, she endured in her efforts to make abortions accessible to these in Poland who want them, although she admitted “it was type of powerful to nonetheless be working and to be on trial.”

Activists say the trial is as a lot a take a look at of Poland’s abortion regulation because the independence of its judiciary, which has prompted worldwide concern lately.

Since coming to energy in 2015, Poland’s Regulation and Justice celebration has modified the method of appointing, selling and disciplining judges in order that they’re beholden to the ruling celebration.

“The decide of my court docket case was nominated by the overall prosecutor in 2019 and beforehand she was a prosecutor so we all know that she is in some way related with the Justice Ministry,” stated Wydrzynska.


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