15 Mar, 2023

Justyna Wydrzyńska sentence attacks women’s rights in EU

Renew Europe condemns the decision of the Polish judiciary to sentence women's rights defender Justyna Wydrzyńska to eight months of community service for providing abortion pills to a victim of domestic violence. The Group’s MEPs call for the sentence of Wydrzyńska to be overturned, as defending the fundamental right to access safe and legal abortion cannot be a crime. 

Her case marks the first in Europe in which an activist is prosecuted and found guilty of helping someone access abortion care. This conviction sets a dangerous precedent in the EU by scaring women rights activists to silence with the threat of possible penalties.  
In support of her and other courageous women's rights defenders, Renew Europe has requested a plenary debate to take place in European Parliament in Strasbourg. In the debate, Renew Europe MEPs will be calling for Poland's Justice Ministry to immediately reverse the decision and stop the witch-hunt of women's rights defenders.  
Soraya Rodríguez Ramos MEP (Ciudadanos, ES), Renew Europe Coordinator in the European Parliament Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality, said: 
"Women's rights defenders in Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and all across the European Union do crucial work for all Europeans. Justyna Wydrzynska's sentence today opens a precedent of enormous risks for all of them. Their job should be recognised, made visible and protected, not punished with fines or prison. This sentence should not be possible in a European Union based on democracy and the defense of human rights. We stand today with Justyna Wydrzynska and with all those women fighting every day for our rights and freedoms." 
Samira Rafaela MEP (D66, NL), Member of the European Parliament Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality and Renew Europe coordinator in the All Of Us network in the European Parliament, commented: 

“How can it be possible that women in Europe face criminal charges for helping other women in accessing care they urgently need? The right to self-determination is inviolable. Women defending each other and this right need to be celebrated, not put on trial. Justyna's trial is a trial on all of us. I expect a strong position from President Von der Leyen. How are we going to protect our activists from such politically motivated sham trials?” 

Photo credit: Renew Europe

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