Poland: Abortion Witch Hunt Targets Women, Doctors

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Poland banned almost all legal abortion as the result of a 2020 Constitutional Court ruling.  


Now, the Polish government is actively pursuing women and girls seeking health care, as well as doctors, in an attempt to prosecute people for providing or assisting abortions.  


Dominik Przeszlakowski, Gynaecologist 
The patients who were refused help in Poland overnight after the ruling was announced, most of them probably had to go abroad. 

Polish law criminalizes anyone who provides or assists an abortion outside highly restricted grounds.  

This and other barriers mean abortion is virtually inaccessible.  


Dominik Przeszlakowski, Gynaecologist 
It is some form of overzealousness on the part of state services in prosecuting abortion, I am a gynaecologist, I have been working in the profession for 25 years. I was fired from my job at the university hospital exactly six months after my public statements about the CT ruling. 


There are known cases where police have searched people’s homes and devices after they miscarried or had a self-induced abortion, looking for anyone who may have provided or assisted an abortion; family members, friends, and reproductive rights activists are the prime suspects.  


Dominik Przeszlakowski, Gynaecologist 

This means that it is intended to make doctors understand that any assistance to women in terminating their pregnancies will be punishable in Poland. This is a direct threat to women's health if they are prevented from seeking medical assistance. Since 2020, there have been several cases of deaths in maternity wards, where it has been proven that abortion procedures were delayed for unclear reasons. 


Despite most people in Poland supporting abortion rights, the government remains relentless in targeting abortion.  


Dominik Przeszlakowski, Gynaecologist 

A woman's right to decide about her own body is one of the fundamental rights. That's why it's worth talking about. 

Accessing, providing or assisting an abortion should never be treated as criminal acts.  


It's time for Poland's authorities to end attacks on reproductive rights and ensure people can access – and provide – reproductive health care without fear of prosecution.  

Criminalization, Pursuit of Alleged Offenders Violates Rights