I won't stop, says Polish abortion activist as court hearing adjourned

WARSAW, Oct 14 (Reuters) - A court on Friday adjourned a hearing on whether a prominent activist broke Polish law by supplying pills to trigger an abortion, as she pledged to continue helping women terminate unwanted pregnancies.

Along with Malta, Poland's anti-abortion laws are among the most restrictive in Europe, and campaigner Justyna Wydrzynska faces up to three years in jail if convicted of facilitating a termination.

Her case, which rights group Amnesty International and campaigners say is the first of its kind in Europe, was adjourned until January after key witnesses failed to appear.

Poland had enforced a near-total abortion ban since 2021, and there was a heavy police presence outside the court, where dozens of protesters also gathered, carrying placards saying "Abortion is ok" and chanting "I am Justyna"..

"People need to be helped. Sisters especially need to be helped. I will repeat that every time," Wydrzynska told reporters inside the court building, her voice wavering, prior to the hearing.

"Today, I also want to represent all those people who help each other with abortions, that is, mothers who help their daughters, daughters who help their mothers."

Police intervened after Wydrzynska, a prominent member of Polish pressure group Abortion Dream Team, provided a pregnant woman with pills in early 2020 to trigger a miscarriage.

The woman, who Wydrzynska said seemed to be in an abusive relationship, had called an abortion line asking for help with terminating her pregnancy. Activists referred Wydrzynska to the case, after which she mailed drugs she already had at home to her.

When the woman's partner found out, he called the police, who intercepted the pills.

Wydrzynska, who also works with a cross-European network of activists that helps Polish women get abortions in other European countries with fewer restrictions, said the case had made her feel like a victim of politics.

"It has cost me a lot, a lot of fear and emotion," she said. "But I don't intend to stop."

Reporting by Joanna Plucinska, Anna Koper and Malgorzata Wojtunik; editing by John Stonestreet

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.