Watch Activist Convicted of Providing Illegal Abortion Pills in Poland – Latest News

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Watch Activist Convicted of Providing Illegal Abortion Pills in Poland – Latest News

An abortion activist has been convicted and sentenced for illegally providing abortion pills by post by a Polish court, the first such case after reforms to abortion laws by the conservative government.

Justyna Wydrzynska was found guilty of aiding and abetting abortion by a Warsaw court on Tuesday. The veteran abortion activist was sentenced to eight months of community service for sending abortion pills by post in 2020, a light sentence given the maximum possible under Polish law for the crime, reports newspaper Wyborcza, is three years in prison.

Wydrzynska has said she does not accept the ruling and intends to appeal. Speaking outside the court, the activist thanked her supporters and said she hoped she’d be able to get back to her “normal work” — abortions — soon. The activist also reportedly said in court she had no intention to stop providing abortions.

The pills in this particular case were never used, the court heard, because they were intercepted by police who had been tipped off by the intended recipient’s husband, who had discovered she intended to kill her unborn child. A report in The Guardian states the woman who requested help in getting the abortion was the victim of domestic violence.

A Polish Catholic group were also party to the trial, and represented the interests of the unborn child in the case, requesting a custodial sentence. Wydrzynska herself is a member of ‘Abortion Dream Team’, an organisation that arranges abortions for women to circumvent Poland’s relatively uncompromising laws.

According to a report in Rzeczpospolita the group boasts of having paid for over 1,500 women to go abroad to get abortions since the law changed to restrict them to cases of rape, incest, or harm to the mother’s health. They claim to have helped 33,000 women get abortions in all.

The restrictions of abortion to certain cases in Poland is the work of the conservative Law and Justice government, which is among the most popularly elected governments in Europe. Despite their continued electoral success and campaigning on issues like abortion and other social issues, pro-abortion campaigners insist they actually have the public’s support in this matter, pointing to polling to underline their claims.

The ruling has been met with dismay by European rights groups. The Center for Reproductive Rights said the ruling “sets a dangerous precedent for the targeting of human rights”. Amnesty International described Poland’s law and the judgement based on it “craven”, “a depressing low”, and that the conviction “must be overturned”.

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