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New hearing in Justyna Wydrzyńska’s case is scheduled for 14 October 2022

Status: 
Judicial harassment
About the situation

On 14 July 2022, the second hearing of woman human rights defender Justyna Wydrzyńska was adjourned by the Praga District Court in Warsaw until 14 October 2022. The case was not heard because the witness of accusation did not not appear in court. The woman human rights defender is charged with 'helping in the performance of an abortion' on the basis of Article 152.2 of the Polish Penal Code, and 'possession of unauthorised drugs with the aim of introducing them to the market' under Article 124 of the Pharmaceutical Law. If convicted, she faces up to three years in prison.

On 8 April 2022, Warsaw Praga Południe District Court will consider the case of woman human rights defender Justyna Wydrzyńska. She has been charged with 'helping in the performance of an abortion' on the basis of Article 152.2 of the Polish Penal Code, and 'possession of unauthorised drugs with the aim of introducing them to the market' under Article 124 of the Pharmaceutical Law. If convicted, she faces up to three years in prison.

About Justyna Wydrzyńska

Justyna Wydrzyńska is woman human rights defender and founder of the website Women on the Net, Poland’s first online forum supporting women seeking safe abortions, contraception or sex education. She currently works with Abortion Dream Team (ADT), a grass roots initiative of four women human rights defenders who came together in October 2016 with the goal of providing direct and immediate assistance to women who needed abortions.

18 July 2022
New hearing in Justyna Wydrzyńska’s case is scheduled for 14 October 2022

On 14 July 2022, the second hearing of woman human rights defender Justyna Wydrzyńska was adjourned by the Praga District Court in Warsaw until 14 October 2022. The case was not heard because the witness of accusation did not not appear in court. The woman human rights defender is charged with 'helping in the performance of an abortion' on the basis of Article 152.2 of the Polish Penal Code, and 'possession of unauthorised drugs with the aim of introducing them to the market' under Article 124 of the Pharmaceutical Law. If convicted, she faces up to three years in prison.

The first hearing took place on 8 April 2020, at Praga District Court of Warsaw. During the hearing, Ordo Iuris, an ultra-conservative anti-choice catholic organisation was allowed to act as amicus curiae to support the prosecution by the judge, claiming to protect the interest of the fetus and its successors. Justina Wydrzyńska received the support of 94 members of the European Parliament, who signed a letter to the Polish government calling for the charges to be dropped. The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics published a statement demanding that her charges be dropped along with petitions, letters and demonstrations from numerous international and Polish human rights organisations. Four UN special rapporteurs also called on the Polish authorities to drop charges against Justyna Wydrzyńska.

30 March 2022
Judicial harassment of woman human right defender Justyna Wydrzyńska

On 8 April 2022, Warsaw Praga Południe District Court will consider the case of woman human rights defender Justyna Wydrzyńska. She has been charged with 'helping in the performance of an abortion' on the basis of Article 152.2 of the Polish Penal Code, and 'possession of unauthorised drugs with the aim of introducing them to the market' under Article 124 of the Pharmaceutical Law. If convicted, she faces up to three years in prison.

Download the Urgent Appeal

Justyna Wydrzyńska is woman human rights defender and founder of the website Women on the Net, Poland’s first online forum supporting women seeking safe abortions, contraception or sex education. She currently works with Abortion Dream Team (ADT), a grass roots initiative of four women human rights defenders who came together in October 2016 with the goal of providing direct and immediate assistance to women who needed abortions.

In 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic when Poland’s postal service suspended international packages, Justyna Wydrzyńska provided her own abortion pills to a woman with an unwanted pregnancy, who had reportedly been prevented by her husband from travelling to an abortion clinic abroad. After she received the abortion pills, the woman’s husband reportedly called the police. On 22 November 2021, the woman human rights defender was charged with 'helping in the performance of an abortion' on the basis of Article 152.2 of the Polish Penal Code, and 'possession of unauthorised drugs with the aim of introducing them to the market' under Article 124 of the Pharmaceutical Law.

Justyna Wydrzyńska’s first hearing will take place on 8 April 2022 in the Warsaw Praga Południe District Court. This is the first case in Europe of a human rights defender being charged with aiding an abortion by providing pills. If convicted, Justyna Wydrzyńska faces up to three years’ imprisonment.

In October 2020, the politically-compromised Constitutional Tribunal in Poland restricted abortion even further and ruled that abortions on the ground of “severe and irreversible foetal defect or incurable illness that threatens the foetus’ life,” are unconstitutional. In the first year following the ruling, AWB has helped 34,000 people from Poland access safe abortions.

Members of ADT have previously been targetted for work in the defence of reproductive rights. In October 2020, an anti-choice group co-opted a magazine cover featuring the founders of ADT, labelling them an “Abortion Killing Team” and used the image alongside that of a dead infant on billboards and on a truck that drove around Warsaw. In March 2021, another anti-choice group reported ADT to the regional prosecutor’s office in Gdansk for allegedly persuading women online to have abortions and committing “genocide.”