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Newsletter:

This Polish collective offers women free emergency contraception

Polen

Crossing the border for the morning-after

Locatie

In September this year, a 30-year-old woman in Poland died as a result of the very strict abortion law, in force since 2020. The woman was in her 22nd week of pregnancy when she was taken to the hospital in Pszczyna, a small town near Katowice. Because the fetus did not have enough amniotic fluid, doctors decided to wait for the fetus to die on its own. An abortion was not an option. The woman later informed her family that she had a very high fever. She eventually died of septic shock.

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This horrific event sparked another nationwide wave of protests against the abortion law. In Poland abortion is only allowed in cases of rape or incest, or when the pregnancy is a danger to the mother. Het Actiefonds supports several Polish organizations in their fight against this law and for the right to contraception.

Action

Stigmatization
The endlessly conservative Poland has been taking systematic steps to obsessively control women’s bodies for years. One of those steps – in addition to virtually banning abortion – was to make it impossible to get the morning-after pill without a doctor’s prescription. Doctors are now allowed to refuse the pill to women who request it, on the basis of their personal beliefs. This is just one example of the ongoing stigmatization of contraception.

Pills from abroad
The collective Dzién Po (‘the morning-after’) provides access to emergency contraception for everyone who needs it; regardless of their age, nationality or financial means. Thanks to international feminist friendships and support from other collectives, the activists manage to maintain a fairly steady flow of morning-after pills from abroad. Dzién Po has been doing this work for three years now, but this year the collective wanted to give more visibility to this important issue. Het Actiefonds was able to contribute to this.

International movement
With the help of Het Actiefonds, Dzién Po was able to create a zine about self-help, D.I.Y. resistance and bottom-up strategies to regain control of your own sexual health. These zines were distributed along with morning after pills. The purpose of the publication is to spread knowledge about the history of self-help in accessing contraception and abortion and to normalize contraception, emergency contraception and abortion. In addition, the zine contains a practical guide to the different types of morning-after pills and their prices and availability. During the research and creation of the publication, Dzién Po collaborated with members of Abortion Without Borders and Women Help Women. The magazine has become part of the international movement of autonomous feminist groups. Het Actiefonds is thankful to be able to help and continues to support the movement in Poland in their hugely important and urgent struggle.

Check out their zine here!