- An activist faces 3 years in prison for sending the abortion pill to another woman in Poland.
- The country allows abortion only in cases of rape, incest and to save the life of the mother.
- She is the first activist accused of having assisted in an abortion in Europe. His case could signal what is to come in the United States.
An activist faces up to three years in prison for sending abortion medication to Poland, where the procedure is illegal except for rape, incest and to save the life of the mother, Vice World News reported. .
The woman, Justyna Wydrzyńska, 47, is a doula and one of the founders of the Abortion Dream Team, which provides education and support for people wishing to have an abortion in Poland.
The organization has already avoided legal trouble by working through the European Abortion Without Borders network, which can send pills to women in Poland from outside the country.
But when Wydrzyńska heard of an unnamed “desperate” woman in Poland who said her abusive husband was preventing her from accessing the proceedings, Wydrzyńska said she had no choice but to send him pills from his personal supply.
“His story touched me because I had had a similar experience,” Wydrzyńska said, according to Amnesty International. “I felt I had to help her.”
While Wydrzyńska told Vice that the woman was never able to take the pills but had a miscarriage due to the stress of the situation, the woman’s husband found Wydrzyńska’s contact information on the packet and called the police.
A year later, she was charged with “aiding an abortion” and “possession of drugs without authorization for the purpose of introducing them into the market”. His case, which will go to trial on Thursday, is the first in Europe to prosecute an activist for providing abortion pills. She faces up to three years in prison.
But Wydrzyńska did not lose her determination. “We shouldn’t be afraid of what might happen even if I did go to jail,” she told Vice. “We should do our job no matter what. Because if we don’t, who will?
The case could signal what is to come in the United States
Activists and doctors fear the case is a harbinger of what is to come in the newly post-Roe United States.
Texas, for its part, already allows private citizens to file civil lawsuits against anyone who helps someone else access the procedure after six weeks of pregnancy. Other states are following suit.
Wydrzyńska’s case is “a reminder that our rights to life, health, bodily integrity and autonomy cannot be taken for granted”, said Agnès Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International, in a statement.
The organization called for the charges against Wydrzyńska to be “immediately dropped”, saying it sets a dangerous precedent in Poland and “a chilling message to other governments seeking to restrict the activities of abortion rights activists, who advocate for bodily autonomy and the right to access safe abortions.”
“No one should be criminalized, let alone prosecuted, for helping someone get a safe abortion,” Callamard added. “All over the world, the ban on safe abortion kills thousands of women and girls every year.”