First verdict in the case of “illegal complicity in abortion” was handed down in Poland
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A court in Warsaw sentenced activist Justyna Wydzhinska to eight months of compulsory labor, finding her guilty of “illegal aiding abortion” ;. As the BBC Russian Service writes, this is the first such criminal case considered by a court in Poland.
Vydzhinskaya collaborates with the organization Aborcyjny Dream Team. In February 2020, she was approached by a woman named Anya, who was 12 weeks pregnant. She said that she was in an abusive relationship, she wanted to have an abortion, she was going to go to Germany for this, but her husband would not let her go. Vydzhinskaya mailed the woman an abortion pill. The organization has done this before, but sent the pills from abroad, which is considered legal.
The parcel of pills was received by the husband of the woman who wanted to terminate the pregnancy and contacted the police. A criminal case was opened against Vydzhinskaya, accusing her of “illegal complicity in abortion” and illegal circulation of medicines, but the court acquitted Wydzhinska on the second count.
Speaking at the court with the last word, Wydzhinska said that “Polish abortion laws are cruel and senseless.”
“Women who decide to terminate an unwanted pregnancy will still have abortions, but in states where abortion is prohibited, they are forced to resort to unsafe methods – or they have to travel to neighboring countries”,– she stressed.
“I was driven to help when no one else was willing or able to do so. For me, helping Anya was something obvious, worthy and honest. If I had a full understanding of the conditions in which Anya lived, then I would not only send her pills, but also stay in touch to support her while taking medication so that she does not feel lonely, so that she has someone who will listen to her, who will not leave her alone, who will hold her hand”, – she added.
The activist pleaded not guilty and is going to challenge the verdict. The Aborcyjny Dream Team, commenting on Wydzynska's verdict, stressed that they believe she is “guilty of assisting”.
Poland has one of the toughest anti-abortion laws in Europe. From 1993 until 2021, it was allowed to have an abortion there if a woman was raped or the pregnancy threatened her health or life, as well as if the fetus had an incurable pathology. At the end of January 2021, despite massive protests, the Constitutional Court ruled that the pathology of the fetus, which was the basis for the vast majority of abortions in the country, cannot be a reason for an abortion.
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