Polish MP charged for taking part in pro-abortion protest

Article published by Human Rights Watch on 4 December and accessible here.

On 29th November 2022 Joanna Scheuring-Wielgus, a member of the Left (Lewica) party, was charged with “offending religious feelings” and “malicious interference with religious worship” under the Polish Criminal Code punishable with up to two years in prison. The charges stem from the MPs’ participation in the October 2020 pro-abortion protests following the Constitutional Tribunals’ ruling to impose a near-total ban on abortion. During the protest, Joanna and her husband held a banner in a Toruń church reading, “Woman, you can decide for yourself”. In December 2020, Prosecutor General Zbigniew Ziobro initiated a motion to strip Scheuring-Wielgus of her parliamentary legal immunity for the protest, which the Polish Parliament voted in favour of in November 2022. Earlier in October 2021, the Toruń district court upheld the aquittal of Joanna’s husband, Piotr Wielgus, for “offending religious belief” in relation to the same incident.