By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
WARSAW/BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – A court in heavily Catholic Poland on Tuesday found a self-declared women’s rights activist guilty of aiding an abortion by providing pills, the first such conviction in a nation with the European continent’s strictest abortion laws.
Justyna Wydrzynska, a founder of the Abortion Dream Team group, was sentenced to eight months of community service, much lower than conservatives had demanded.
Prosecutors had charged the activist with “helping with an abortion,” a crime potentially punishable by up to three years in prison. While self-administering abortion pills is legal in Poland, assisting is not.
The ultraconservative think tank Ordo Iuris, which joined as a party to the proceedings, had called for Wydrzynska to receive a prison sentence of one year, arguing that she had “boasted” of committing the crime.
Wydrzynska defended her actions saying she was contacted by a “woman in a desperate situation” in 2021. “She told me that her aggressive husband was trying to stop her from having an abortion,” Wydrzynska added.
“I felt touched by her story because I had had a similar experience. I felt I needed to help her,” she told the court.
Defense lawyer Anna Bergiel said the case set a “precedent.” She argued that the woman who took the abortion pill did so for “her own good and for the good of her children.”
“She knew that another child would make it even more difficult to escape the vicious cycle of domestic violence,” Bergiel claimed.
However, prosecutors, “significant social harm” was caused by the termination of “life in the prenatal period.”
The activist said she would appeal the verdict.
The Warsaw court did not allow some media representatives to attend the proceedings, citing a “lack of space,” Polish magazine Polityka reported.
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