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Abortion in Poland: What will Tusk’s new day for women bring?

The new Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has promised a liberalization of the country’s abortion laws, which are some of the most restrictive on the European continent. His path is a sharp contrast to the previous government’s anti-abortion crackdown. Yet, even as he commits to the issue publicly, the campaign he took to get there reveals that reproductive freedom in Poland remains an issue many lawmakers use only instrumentally.

Hot water, running over a pregnant belly, under beige and purple shower tiles. An orange cat, crawling through the litter box. Only a couple months after abortion doula Wiktoria Szymczak moved to Kraków from Warsaw in 2023, she was helping a stranger end a pregnancy in her apartment bathroom. Earlier in the day, Szymczak had got a call from a client who needed more help than anticipated, who we will call Agata to protect her privacy. Previously, Szymczak had told her how to pursue one of the few legal methods left for obtaining an abortion within the country. It is still legal to go online and order abortion pills for yourself in the mail through a dealer based outside Poland (Szymczak recommends medical non-profits like “Women Help Women”). Agata went online and she bought the pills to end her pregnancy.
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February 7, 2024 - Katie Toth - Issue 1-2 2024MagazineStories and ideas

A protest in Wrocław in October 2020 against the anti-abortion measures forced by the then Polish government under the Law and Justice party. Photo: Lena Ivanova / Shutterstock

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