This case constitutes yet another episode of Poland’s anti-abortion obsession as innocent women fell victim to the criminalisation of abortion in Poland.

The story was made public by Fakty TVN on 18th July 2023. In April of this year Joanna took an abortion pill. She was not feeling well so she called her psychiatrist and told about her abortion. The doctor then called the police without informing Joanna of doing so. Joanna was found at her home and escorted to the hospital for a gynecological examination by several policemen who surrounded her. She was ordered to undress, do squats and cough even though she was still bleeding. They also seized the woman’s computer and phone.

The police have argued that their intervention was necessary to check whether someone had assisted the woman in terminating her pregnancy, which is an act punishable by up to three years in prison under Article 152 § 2 of the Polish criminal code. Joanna emphasized that no one helped her to terminate the pregnancy and that it had been her decision. The prosecutors confirmed that an investigation is underway into the crimes of aiding or soliciting suicide and assisting a woman in terminating her pregnancy.

FEDERA lawyer Kamila Ferenc is Joanna’s legal representative and she filed a complaint to the court against the seizure of Joanna’s belongings. FEDERA will provide Joanna with the necessary legal support including but not limited to the compensation claim. The Ombudsman for Patient’s Rights and Ombudsman for Human Rights have already initiated the proceedings into this case.

FEDERA is monitoring  the situation and will assist Joanna with anything she might need to prove her innocence and substantiate the abuse of powers by public officers in her case. Please follow FEDERA’s Facebook Page for the most recent posts and updates on Joanna’s story.

Deleting abortion from the criminal code should be an imperative for all reasonable policy makers. The extent of harm caused by criminalisation of abortion calls for immediate legal change. This story should have never happened.

Marches of solidarity with Joanna and against police oppression are taking place in front of police headquarters on 25 July 2023 in Cracow, Warsaw and other cities. The map of protests is here.