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Polish ombudsman finds breach of rights in treatment of Joanna from Krakow

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The Polish Patients Ombudsman has found that there were multiple violations of rights in case of Joanna from Krakow, who was harassed by police after taking abortion pills last year.

The case made international news last year after Joanna went public with her experience at the hands of police. Joanna took abortion pills – not against the law in Poland – and told her psychologist about this on the phone. The psychologist then reported Joanna to the police, who performed invasive searches, seized her laptop and phone, and refused to leave Joanna during a medical examination.

On 19 January 2024 the Ombudsman released a statement outlining that Joanna’s rights to privacy and confidentially were breached. The official statement says that “there was a violation of patient rights by some entities involved in providing health services” and that “in the opinion of the Commissioner for Human Rights, the actions of police officers undertaking official activities not directly related to providing medical assistance to Mrs. Joanna should be considered unacceptable.”

Joanna has described her experience as frightening and humiliating, and that she spoke out because she was angry, and said “If my story reached only one woman who didn’t know her rights, then it was all worth it. I refuse to be silenced.”