Hundreds of women in Poland protested outside police stations Tuesday to oppose the allegedly ruthless way officers treated a woman who had taken an abortion pill.
The protests in Krakow, Warsaw and some other cities were intended to show solidarity with the woman and to condemn police shaming practices.
The woman, identified publicly only as Joanna, has told Polish media outlets that police surrounded her and searched her belongings as she was preparing for an obstetrician to examine her at a Krakow hospital.
The woman’s doctor had notified the ambulance service and police after the stressed-out patient had called to report she was feeling unwell at home after having taken the pill to end her pregnancy.
Officers were there when the medics were transporting the woman and also during her visit to the hospital.
The woman says she felt humiliated, which added to her stress and poor condition.
Police officials insist that having the officers on hand was required and non-oppressive, but Poland’s political opposition is calling for the head of police to resign. The justice minister, who is also the chief prosecutor, has ordered an investigation.
Abortions only are allowed in Poland for pregnancies resulting from crimes like rape or incest. It is otherwise illegal to perform or aid in an abortion, although a woman terminating her own pregnancy does not break the law.