The growing threat to the core values of the EU from Poland: Polish pro-choice activist faces up to three years in prison for helping a woman get an abortion

The growing threat to the core values of the EU from Poland: Polish pro-choice activist faces up to three years in prison for helping a woman get an abortion


Idil Igdir

Women’s Rights Researcher, 

Global Human Rights Defence. 


Justyna Wydrzyńska, a Polish abortion activist and founder of Poland’s first online forum to provide information on safe abortion, contraception, and sex education, is charged with aiding a victim of domestic violence to have an illegal abortion by providing miscarriage-inducing tablets under the country’s strict abortion law, which came into force in January 2021*. This law, one of the strictest in Europe regarding abortion, puts her at risk of up to three years in prison if found guilty. Thus, her trial will take place on April 8 for the violation of Article 152.2 of the Polish Penal Code, which concerns assistance in the termination of pregnancy.


Regarding the background of the trial, in February 2020, Wydrzyńska, a member of the Abortion Dream Team (ADT), was contacted by a woman named Ania who wanted to terminate her 12-week pregnancy. The woman had previously tried to travel to Germany for the procedure, but Ania was forced to stay in Poland by her abusive husband and was therefore prevented from having an abortion. 


Witnessing such horror, Wydrzyńska decided to help her despite the laws in Poland and sent the abortion pills directly to Ania’s home. However, at the time, the Covid pandemic had started to take hold and Poland’s postal service had made announcements that “international postage may be suspended or disturbed. We were running out of time.” 


Nonetheless, the package was still sent at the risk of being caught, but the day it arrived, her abusive husband called the police to report it. They confiscated the medicine from her, but Ania later said the stress of the police investigation caused her to miscarry. 


After the accusations, Wydrzyńska said, “Of course, I helped her; I wouldn't be a human if I hadn’t.” She also told Radio Zet, “I didn't even think about the consequences,” and “It was an impulse straight from the heart. I felt that if I have a tool that can help someone, this is what I will do.”


Furthermore, news of the trial broke on social media with the #IamJustyna hashtag, which ADT launched as an online campaign to draw attention. Support came from various organizations and pro-choice activists from different countries. Kinga Julińska, a Dutch pro-choice activist, highlighted the failure of the Polish state to provide basic reproductive care. She also added that she “views the charges against Wydrzyńska as contradictory to international recommendations.” 


* “ On January 27, 2021, the ruling of Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal came into effect which found that the grounds of “severe and irreversible fetal defect or incurable illness that threatens the fetus’ life” was unconstitutional” (Koslerova, 2022). 

Sources and Further Reading : 

Anna Koslerova. (2022, April 4). Pro-choice activist faces trial in Poland for aiding abortion. ALJAZEERA. Retrieved April 5 from

Agnieszka Wadolowska. (2022, March 29). Polish activist on trial for “helping terminate pregnancy” faces up to three years in prison. Notes From Poland. Retrieved April 5 from

Moorasha Muzaffar. (2022, March 30). Justyna Wydrzyńska: Polish woman first pro-choice activist to go to trial for breaking country’s abortion law. Independent. Retrieved April 5 from

Weronika Strzyżyńska. (2022, March 28). Polish woman is first activist to face trial for violating strict abortion law. The Guardian. Retrieved April 5 from