The Freedom Lecture: Justyna Wydrzyńska

Polish activist Justyna Wydrzyńska has been sentenced to 8 months of community service for helping a pregnant woman obtain abortion pills. It is the first time in history a court case like this has been conducted in Europe. Wydrzyńska is a member of the Abortion Dream Team, a collective of activists. During the Freedom Lecture, Wydrzyńska will give her out take on freedom and resistance.

Poland has one of Europe’s strictest abortion laws. Of the 27 EU Member States, only two countries (including Poland) prohibit abortion if a woman requests it. In Poland, abortion is only allowed if the woman’s life is in danger or if the pregnancy is the result of rape.

The Abortion Dream Team is a collective of activists that gives women in Poland advice on abortion and shows women where to order abortion pills. Each year, it helps around 30,000 women gain access to the abortion pill – a safe way to terminate pregnancies up to 12 weeks.

About the speakers

Justyna Wydrzyńska’s own abortion experience, with no support or access to reliable information, gave her the strength and motivation to help others make informed decisions about their reproductive lives. Justyna co-founded Women on the Net and Abortion Dream Team, an activist collective campaigning against abortion stigma and offering advice on accessing safe abortion in Poland, where abortion laws are among the most restrictive in Europe.

About the Freedom Lecture

Freedom is something that we in the Netherlands often take for granted. Four times a year, De Balie invites someone who knows from personal experience what it means not to be free. We want to share their stories, spread their message, and learn from their struggle. In the series, De Balie has welcomed freedom fighters like Egyptian writer and activist Nawal el Saadawi, Ugandan LGBT activist Frank Mugisha, and Hungarian journalist Veronika Munk.


Justyna WydrzyńskaPolish human rights defender
Lilianne PloumenSenior advisor at Bureau Clara Wichmann
Samira RafaelaMember of the European Parliament, part of the commission women’s rights and gender equality