The police at the hospital followed her every step, and the word “crime” kept coming up. The officers took away her laptop and phone, and then something happened, after which Mrs. Joanna – as she says – snapped: the policewomen ordered her to undress, crouch and cough. What happened that a woman who didn’t break the law was treated like a criminal?
Mrs. Joanna, dialing the number of her psychiatrist, could not even imagine what would happen to her. – I simply asked for help to receive professional, medical help. When I called the doctor, I made it clear: I’m not going to hurt myself, I don’t want to hurt myself, I need help to calm down a bit – assures Joanna.
It was the night of April 27/28. Before making the phone call, Mrs. Joanna took abortifacients, which she admitted to the doctor, asking for support. She called the emergency number 112, informing about a possible suicide attempt. On Thursday afternoon, at a press conference, the chief of the police, Jarosław Szymczyk, presented a recording on which a call to the emergency number by Joanna’s doctor was recorded, which was to confirm the version about an attempted suicide.
SEE THE MATERIAL OF “FACTS” TVN: Joanna took the abortion pill. The police came to the hospital, took her laptop and phone
– The police came to my client in a very large number of officers, there were about a dozen of them. She was taken to the hospital together with an ambulance – Kamila Ferenc, Mrs. Joanna’s attorney, a lawyer from the Foundation for Women and Family Planning “Federa”, reports the course of events.
The woman was first taken to the hospital’s emergency department. According to the doctor’s report, the policemen did not leave her a step away. They tried to question the woman during the tests. Four men were guarding one frightened woman. It formed a cordon around the patient, which made our work difficult. They have not been able to state why this patient is being retained by them – Renata Kijowska, a doctor from the ER, reported in an interview with TVN’s “Fakty” reporter.
The police assess their actions as justified and performed in accordance with the law. He claims that it was the doctors who made their work difficult. Some of them have been documented. – Police officers had to ensure that there was no destruction or possible hiding of evidence in this case, therefore, in accordance with the regulations, they could enter there in order to secure this evidence – explains subcommander. Piotr Szpiech from the Municipal Police Headquarters in Krakow.
They took her laptop and phone
Self-administration of the abortion pill is not prohibited in Polish law, but only aiding abortion. Joanna claims that she told the officers where she got the drugs. He recalls that “the word ‘crime’ was used all the time”. I knew I hadn’t broken the law. That’s why I immediately said that yes, I did it on my own, no one helped me – says Joanna.
However, as the doctors also admit, the police officers kept asking about Joanna’s phone and laptop. – It was hard for us to talk without their company. We didn’t feel that these policemen were there to help this patient – says the doctor of the hospital emergency department where Joanna ended up.
At some point, Mrs. Joanna noticed that the computer had disappeared from her bag. On the recording made available by an ER employee, you can hear the doctor intervening in the matter of Joanna’s computer. The policeman stated that he was “secured for detention” and asked the doctor not to interfere with their activities. The doctor considered calling the police. “As a police officer, I am lecturing you that it is an offense to call a police patrol unjustifiably,” said one of the officers.
– Due to the fact that this lady did not want to voluntarily release these items that were to be used as evidence in the case, it was necessary to carry out activities – explains subcommander. Piotr Szpiech.
Joanna was transferred to another hospital – to the gynecology ward. – She was in a rather difficult mental situation, and when she left the ER, she was in an even worse one – says the doctor of the hospital emergency department.
Policewomen summoned to the second hospital told her to undress, crouch, and cough. “I took off my clothes, only my panties, because I was still bleeding and it would have been too humiliating for me. They then said that I should also take my panties off. And then I shouted in their face: “what do you want from me”, a gynecologist had just examined me – says Joanna.
The police explain why Joanna was searched
A spokesman for the Krakow police responds: – The checking process, i.e. the process of searching the person against whom the intervention is undertaken, consists in a thorough search and thorough checking whether this person has hidden any prohibited items in any place – explained Piotr Szpiech.
At that time, Mrs. Joanna gave the police her phone, which she has not recovered to this day, although on June 12, the court ruled that it had been taken from her unlawfully and ordered its return. “The intervention of the police completely broke me, destroyed me,” she says.
The Supreme Medical Chamber informed that it was “conducting explanatory proceedings”. So is the Ombudsman for Patients’ Rights. The case was also taken up by the Ombudsman.
– As a representative, I will certainly seek financial compensation from the State Treasury, an apology for the actions of the police, but also all public officials involved. Also disciplinary liability. I will also want to question the action of the doctor who started this whole series of events – announces Kamila Ferenc.
Since the broadcast of the material in “Fakty” TVN, many words of support flow to Joanna. “It made me believe that it was worth speaking out. It was worth overcoming this fear somewhere and publicizing the whole thing. I am convinced that this is the only way to change anything, to improve the situation of women – says the woman.
Main photo source: TVN facts