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The price of democracy in illegal abortions. Or how the democratic transition in Poland left reproductive rights behind.

When one thinks of the end of communism in Eastern Europe, a number of images usually come to mind: the fall of the Berlin wall, freedom, people hugging and dancing, liberty, smiles, Lech Walesa’s iconic moustache and Mikhail Gorbachov’s birth-marked forehead. And these are all accurate. What we don’t think of are back alley abortions, lack of access to contraception, women dying in hospitals because doctors would not abort pregnancies which endangered them – and finally ended their lives. Unfortunately, these are just as accurate.

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