Can you be punished for supporting women?
The most important abortion court hearing is coming. In the background, a story of domestic violence and seeking help
How to hide an abortion from my husband?
We have to talk about what’s going on in Poland.
Imagine that Anna writes to you– a woman with an unwanted pregnancy who is a victim of intimate partner violence. She tells you that she is afraid of her partner, that she fears for her life, that she is frightened for the future of her small child, and shares how her life is under constant surveillance and control.
You understand her instantly, because you were once in exactly the same situation – living with threats from a violent partner, experiencing physical and mental abuse. You were controlled and unable to choose who you talked to or who you met with. Your partner knew your passwords and constantly checked your phone and read your messages. And when you got pregnant, you knew you did not want to have another child with this man.
What would you do if Anna wrote to you and you happened to have a set of abortion pills in your house? Would you help like Justyna did? (#IamJustyna)?
Domestic violence is not fiction
These people actually exist. Justyna is 47 years old. She lives in a small town and is the mother of three children. For more than 10 years she has been free of an abusive partner. It is because of the abortion of her fourth pregnancy that she found the strength and the motivation to leave her toxic husband and take care of herself and her children. She vowed that in her free time she would help other women.
Ania, who wrote to her, was still in this hellish situation. She was terrified; she was almost 12 weeks pregnant. She had tried to travel to a clinic abroad, but was blocked by her abusive husband. It was the very beginning of the pandemic, mail service was unreliable, and nobody knew yet how long it would take for a package with abortion pills from Women Help Women to arrive in these unstable circumstances. Ania looked online for help and found Abortion Without Borders, a group that helps arrange abortions for people from Poland. She contacted them, desperate to end the pregnancy.
She came across Justyna who shared her own set of abortion pills.
When an incident happens ...
Imagine you come back home. The pills are in your purse. They are your lifeline; they will give you back control over your body. You open the door, but inside there is a trap, set by your own husband: he called the police, who confiscate the pills.
Justyna sits at home wondering why her phone is so silent. Did Anna manage to take the pills? Is somebody trying to overpower her and take them away by force? Will Anna take the pills or will she miscarry because of all that stress and violence?
Dream Team abortion before the court
This story is not fiction. On April 8 Justyna will face the Polish court, accused of aiding in abortion. She is facing 3 years in prison.
Justyna’s colleague from the Abortion Dream Team says:
“People like Justyna are the only chance to get a safe abortion in Poland. They should be protected, not prosecuted. Is the intention of the prosecution to make people afraid of being pregnant, or afraid of supporting each other?”
Anna had to be supported.
How many abortions has Abortion Without Borders done?
Just like at least 94 people a day in need of an abortion in Poland who are helped by Abortion Without Borders. Unfortunately, pregnant people cannot count on the help of the state, or politicians or doctors. They can only count on other women. We can only count on each other.
Since the sentence of the pseudo-tribunal, 34,000 people received support in safe abortion, and 1,544 people left for the procedure in the second trimester. Abortion Without Borders allocated PLN 1.5 million for this.
Our position has not changed:
We will not stop helping! We will continue to do what is just and necessary. Every single person who needs an abortion should have access to it, without financial barriers, without shame, without apology.
[Fot: Grzegorz Żukowski oraz Karolina Jackowska]
Join #IamJustyna / #jakJustyna
We have five action proposals, each of which will take you less than 5 minutes (for real).
Publicize the case
Use your social media to post about the case. You can tell everyone you too would act like Justyna #IamJustyna
Link this page, and if you’ve ever had an abortion yourself, it might be a good time for an abortion coming out!
See the reel from the abortion coming out during the protests in Poland in 2021.
text your friends
Let them know you’ll be there for them if they ever need an abortion.
Really. Do it now. It only takes a couple of seconds.
Sign the petition by Amnesty International
The legal actions against Justyna go against basic human rights, which include the right to abortion!
come to the demonstration
The hearing will take place in Warsaw, no.3 Poligonowa street. We’ll see you there on the 8th of April at 9.30 am. Time to soli-demo:
You too can become an abortionist!
One of the forms of support for our activity is financial aid. We encourage you to contribute to our activities.
One-off payment can be made with Stripe. Monthly support requires card payments.
You can always pay to our Zrzutka.pl fund of Abortion Dream Team
Chip in and help fund someone’s abortion!
Do you have any questions?
Am I in any danger if I have an abortion in Poland?
Terminating your own pregnancy is not a criminal offense. It doesn’t matter if you had your abortion in Poland or went abroad. You’re safe if you bought abortion pills, took them or had an abortion in a clinic.
Anna from our story faces no charges- she’s a witness in the case.
How can I have an abortion?
With pills or surgically.
Text Abortion Dream Team or call Abortion Without Borders.
You can also check out our zine “Need an abortion? - you’re not alone!” [.pdf 8.9mb].
Do I need a doctor if I want to do an abortion?
No, a doctor is not necessary.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says that you can self-manage an abortion safely at home, with pills.
On the website of the Abortion Dream Team you can findinformation how to have a safe abortion in Poland.
What is the WHO’s stance on abortion with pills?
Abortion pills are safe to use.
According to the most recent Wolrd Health Organization’s recommendations, abortions with pills (called also “medical abortions”) are safe and it is not necessary to see a doctor beforehand. Abortion with pills results in termination of pregnancy, not in complications - these occur very rarely.
Till how far in pregnancy can an abortion with pills be done?
It can be done both in the first and second trimester of pregnancy..
Is giving someone abortion pills a criminal offense?
Sabrina Mana-Walasek, PhD, attorney of the Abortion Dream Team, emphasizes that “termination of one's own pregnancy is not criminalized and according to international standards is an expression of exercising fundamental human rights. Therefore, one has to wonder about the legitimacy of penalizing those who help in exercising these rights."
Also for these reasons,"it should be concluded that Justyna's actions, which consisted of sending abortion medication to another person, although technically could meet the statutory definition of a crime under Article 152 § 2 of the Penal Code, were not socially harmful and should not be punished.”
I work for the media and want to write about abortion - what should I remember?
Don’t reproduce abortion stigma.
Read our document on writing about abortion without stigma for media workers. [.pdf 1,8 mb]
TL;DR - five most important issues
- Don’t generalize. Don’t repeat fake information. Avoid using materials from anti-abortion websites which intentionally provide false information.
- Don’t use stigmatizing language or inadequate illustrations.
- Don’t write about post-abortion syndrome - it doesn’t exist!
- Share real experience. You can see over 400 stories from women who have had abortions and shared it with Abortion Dream Team..
- Do not replicate myths about abortion.
Who can help people from Poland get an abortion?
Only contact verified groups. We recommend the following:
- Aborcja Bez Granic – abortion.eu
- Aborcyjny Dream Team – aborcyjnydreamteam.pl
- Abortion Network Amsterdam (ANA) – anamsterdam.noblogs.org
- Abortion Support Network – asn.org.uk/pl
- Ciocia Basia – FB
- Ciocia Czesia – ciociaczesia.pl
- Ciocia Wienia – FB
- Kobiety w Sieci – maszwybór.net
- Women Help Women – womenhelp.org
We do not recommend contacting individuals selling pills - those are usually scams.
Will you keep on working?
Yes. The Abortion Dream Team and Abortion Without Borders will continue to work.
We will still support anyone in an unwanted pregnancy and who needs an abortion.
If you are able, please consider supporting Abortion Without Borders financially. You can support someone’s abortion.