Polish man prosecuted for helping his partner with an abortion


Central Europe


A demonstrator holds up a cloth hanger as others light flares during a pro-choice demonstration in front of the constitutional court in Warsaw, Poland. Photo AFP, Wojtek Radwanski

A couple in Poland is suspected of aborting their unborn child and burying it. The man is prosecuted, and the woman goes free.

Helping someone have an abortion is a criminal offence in Poland. However, having an abortion is not, Notes from Poland reported last week. Therefore, the man faces a court case, while the woman does not.

The Polish prosecutor announced last week that the man, whose name is Grzegorz W., will have to appear before a court "in violation of the provisions of the law by providing assistance in terminating a pregnancy". This offence is punishable by up to three years in prison, spokesperson Daniel Prokopowicz told media.

Abortion in Poland is forbidden in almost all circumstances. Only when the pregnancy threatens the mother's life or health or results from a criminal offence, such as rape, a woman may terminate her pregnancy.

Earlier this year, the police from the Polish town of Pinczów received a notification that the 29-year-old woman miscarried and that she buried the foetus together with her 30-year-old partner. The spokesman of the local law enforcement confirmed that the notification did not come from a medical facility.

As a result, the couple was arrested and interrogated. According to the police, the two spouses confessed to the act. Law enforcement officers launched a search for the foetus, even using a sniffer dog. However, the child was not found.

In the meantime, the police pressed charges against Grzegorz W. Even though he was released from detention, he remained under police supervision and could not leave the country.


Grezegorz W. is not the first to be prosecuted for helping someone with an abortion. Last March, a women's rights activist was convicted for providing a pregnant woman with abortion pills. She was sentenced to eight months of community service but appealed her sentence.



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