On 22 October 2020, the Constitutional Tribunal in Poland ruled that providing abortions in Polish hospitals due to fetal anomalies was unconstitutional. Even though the ruling came into force only at the end of January 2021, in practice, changes began immediately. By 23 October 2020, the first four people who were refused an abortion in a Polish hospital had called Abortion Without Borders.
Since 22 October 2020:
- 597 people have benefited from the support of the entire Abortion Without Borders initiative in arranging a second trimester abortions abroad.
- Of those, 163 disclosed information about the presence of a fetal defect.
- The total amount of financial support provided by all the organizations that are part of Abortion Without Borders exceeded 420,000 PLN (£79,500).
- There were a total of 6,993 calls to the Abortion Without Borders helpline with abortion queries.
- Ciocia Basia, located in Germany, received over 1,400 phone calls from people in Poland and has helped, within their own capacity, 260 people to access surgical abortion. 65 people had documents detailing foetal abnormality. 18 people were referred to Ciocia Wienia in Vienna. The financial support provided by Ciocia Basia and Ciocia Wienia exceeded 39,000 PLN (£7,382). The money was used to organize travel and pay for accommodation and the cost of the abortion procedure.
- Abortion Network Amsterdam, Netherlands, helped 234 people to access abortion in the second trimester of pregnancy and answered over 2,500 e-mails. 46 people had documents detailing fetal abnormality. The total amount of financial support provided by Abortion Network Amsterdam exceeded 13,000 PLN (£2,460) – the money was used to pay for the procedure, accommodation and travel arrangements and in many cases also for mandatory Covid-19 tests.
- Abortion Support Network in England received 295 phone calls and 1,200 emails from people in Poland seeking access to abortion. 52 people had documents detailing fetal abnormality. The financial support provided by ASN to people from Poland was 369,000 PLN (£69,877) to people travelling to England, the Netherlands and hospitals and clinics elsewhere in Europe.
- Women Help Women – an international organization providing postal access to abortion pills has responded to over 46,000 messages from Poland. In the last six months over 10,000 people have benefited from the help of Women Help Women.
- Over 1,200 new people have registered on the forum of Women on Web – maszwybor.net. Since 22 October 2020, 171 people have had their abortion with the support of people from the forum, who also have experience with medical abortions.
- Abortion Dream Team has answered over 2,400 abortion queries. The questions were related to support before, during and after abortion. They have accompanied over 490 people during medical abortions in the last 6 months, of which 18 were in the second trimester who were unable/unwilling to travel to an overseas clinic for the procedure and chose to take the pills. 445 people were seeking access to the morning-after pill and 100 contacted their legal helpline.
- Altogether close to 200 people in the second trimester of their pregnancies took abortion pills at home with support from the groups involved in Abortion Without Borders.
- Having looked at the government statistics related to the implementation of the new law in Poland, we concluded that Abortion Without Borders has taken on all the “statutory” abortions which used to be done in public hospitals. The organization of abortion procedures for people in the second trimester of pregnancy rests on the shoulders of feminist organizations and informal groups and depends on money raised from donations.
Abortion Without Borders was founded on 11 December 2019 to help those with unintended and/or unwanted pregnancies in Poland and abroad. During its first year, more than 5,000 received help in terminating their pregnancies. Since 22 October 2020 the numbers have significantly increased. The Abortion Without Borders initiative consists of Women in Network (Poland), Abortion Dream Team (Poland), Women Help Women (international), Abortion Network Amsterdam (Netherlands), Ciocia Basia (Germany) and Abortion Support Network (England). Abortion Without Borders provides information about safe abortions (including medical abortions), provides consultation before, during and after the abortion as well as financial, logistical and practical support.
SOURCE: Abortion Without Borders press release, 23 April 2021 ; VISUAL: Abortion Without Borders website