A woman faces 3 years in prison for sending abortion pills in Poland. Her case may signal what's to come in the US.

A woman faces 3 years in prison for sending abortion pills in Poland. Her case may signal what's to come in the US.
This Sept. 22, 2010 photo shows bottles of the abortion-inducing drug RU-486 in Des Moines, Iowa, which Planned Parenthood of the Heartland clinic doctors can remotely prescribe using a telemedicine terminal.AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
  • An activist is facing 3 years in prison for sending the abortion pill to another woman in Poland.
  • The country only allows abortion in cases of rape, incest, and to save the life of the mother.

An activist is facing up to three years in prison for sending abortion medication in Poland, where the procedure is illegal except in cases of rape, incest, and to save the mother's life, Vice World News reported.

The woman, 47-year-old Justyna Wydrzyńska, is a doula and one of the founders of Abortion Dream Team, which provides education and support for people seeking abortions in Poland.

The organization has previously avoided legal trouble by working through the European network Abortion Without Borders, which can send pills to women in Poland from outside of the country.

But when Wydrzyńska heard from a "desperate" unnamed woman in Poland who said her abusive husband was preventing her from accessing the procedure, Wydrzyńska said she had no choice but to send her pills from her personal supply.

"Her story touched my heart as I had had a similar experience," Wydrzyńska said, according to Amnesty International. "I felt I had to help her."


While Wydrzyńska told Vice the woman was never able to take the pills but did have a miscarriage due to the stress of the situation, the woman's husband found Wydrzyńska's contact information on the package and called the police.

A year later, she was charged with "helping with an abortion" and "possession of medicines without authorization for the purpose of introducing them into the market." Her case, which will go to trial Thursday, is the first in Europe that prosecutes an activist for providing abortion pills. She faces up to three years in prison.

But Wydrzyńska hasn't lost her resolve. "We shouldn't be afraid of what could happen even if I really do go to jail," she told Vice. "We should do our work no matter what. Because if we don't, who will?"

The case could signal what's to come in the US

Activists and doctors fear the case could be a harbinger of what's to come in the newly post-Roe US.

Texas, for one, already allows private citizens to file civil lawsuits against anyone who helps someone else access the procedure after six weeks into pregnancy. Other states are following suit.


Wydrzyńska's case is "a reminder that our rights to life, to health, to bodily integrity and autonomy cannot be taken for granted," Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International's Secretary General, said in a statement.

The organization called for Wydrzyńska's charges to be "immediately dropped," saying iti sets a dangerous precedent in Poland and "a chilling message to other governments seeking to curtail the activities of abortion rights activists, who are campaigning for bodily autonomy and the right to access safe abortions."

"No one should be criminalized, let alone prosecuted, for helping someone to get a safe abortion," Callamard added. "Around the world, prohibition of safe abortion kills thousands of women and girls every year."