Nearly three years ago, Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal effectively ended legal abortion in the country. Since then, the Polish government has vigorously repressed the nation’s reproductive rights movement and ramped up surveillance of women who are suspected of terminating their pregnancies. Authorities have violently dispersed demonstrations, threatened activists with prison time and ordered doctors to record all pregnancies in a new national database.
Even before Roe v. Wade was overturned last summer, Poland’s draconian crackdown, which was spearheaded by the governing right-wing Law and Justice party, should have been alarming to American supporters of abortion rights. It was always possible that some aspects of what has happened there could happen here.
Now there are reports that laboratory tests to detect abortion drugs have not only been created in Poland but are, in rare cases, also being used there to investigate the outcomes of pregnancies. These tests are not yet known to be in use anywhere else in the world. But Americans would be wise to plan for the possibility that the technology could one day be adopted on this side of the Atlantic and used by law enforcement to suss out whether women have taken abortion pills — which are now banned or restricted in more than two dozen states.