Women call for tougher EU stance on Poland’s abortion laws

At least six women have died in Poland after doctors refused to terminate their pregnancies due to the constitutional court’s ruling on abortions.

By Priyanka Shankar
Published On 18 Nov 2022

Brussels, Belgium – Fighting for justice and women’s rights in Poland has become an integral part of Barbara Skrobol’s life since September 22, 2021.

This was the day her sister-in-law, Izabela Sajbor, died of sepsis at a hospital in southern Poland after doctors refused to terminate her pregnancy after finding foetal defects, due to Poland’s stringent abortion rules.

Continued: https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2022/11/18/women-call-for-tougher-eu-stance-on-polands-abortion-laws

Protests flare across Poland after death of young mother denied an abortion

Family of Agnieszka T say they want to ‘save other women in Poland from a similar fate’, as case met with anger over restrictive termination laws

Weronika Strzyżyńska
Fri 28 Jan 2022

Protests are under way across Poland after the death of a 37-year-old woman this week who was refused an abortion, a year since the country introduced one of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe.

On the streets of Warsaw on Tuesday night, protesters laid wreaths and lanterns in memory of Agnieszka T, who died earlier that day. She was pregnant with twins when one of the foetus’ heartbeat stopped and doctors refused to carry out an abortion. In a statement, her family accused the government of having “blood on its hands”. Further protests are planned in Częstochowa, the city in southern Poland where the mother-of-three was from.

Continued : https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2022/jan/27/protests-flare-across-poland-after-death-of-young-mother-denied-an-abortion

Death threats and phone calls: the women answering cries for help one year on from Poland’s abortion ban

As new laws hit the most vulnerable pregnant women in need of care, volunteers struggle to help those unable to access safe abortions

Rosie Swash and Weronika Strzyżyńska in Warsaw
The Guardian
Sun 23 Jan 2022

An Abortion Dream Team member became the first Polish abortion activist to face the prospect of trial in September, after a man notified the police that his wife ordered abortion pills online. The case is ongoing.

Ferenc believes the latest changes did not fully appease the ruling Law and Justice party’s (PiS) religious base. “Before, abortion was not a topic, no one wanted to talk about it. Now the anti-abortion groups on whose support PiS is relying are demanding blood.”

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2022/jan/23/death-threats-and-phone-calls-the-women-answering-cries-for-help-one-year-on-from-polands-abortion-ban

Death toll of antiabortion law in Poland

Press release - Federation for Women and Family Planning
2 November 2021

On 29 October 2021, the attorney J. Budzowska, who deals with medical error cases, announced the death of a 30-year-old woman, Izabela. The 22 weeks’ pregnant woman was said to have been taken to the hospital with an amenorrhea (lack of amniotic fluid). The woman was married and had one daughter. According to the information provided by the attorney, the doctors were to wait for the foetus to die and the woman died shortly after of septic shock.

The prosecutor’s investigation into the circumstances of the woman’s death is ongoing and no more information is available at this point. The director of the hospital in its statement assured that all medical decisions in this case were taken in accordance with the Polish law. This is in itself not reassuring because Polish antiabortion law exposes women’s lives and health to risk.

On 1 November, candles were lit across Poland as a part of the campaign called "Ani Jednej Więcej", initiated by the Federation for Women and Family Planning in solidarity with the family of the deceased woman. Protests were yet again held in front of the illegitimate Constitutional Tribunal that a year ago banned abortion on the grounds of “the severe and irreversible foetal defect or incurable illness that threatens the foetus life”. As a result of this ruling, legal abortion may be accessed when pregnancy constitutes a threat to the woman's life or health and if it results from the criminal act.

This is another victim of the Polish antiabortion law – in 2004, a 25-year-old woman died of pregnancy complications that could have been avoided by a timely abortion.

“Instead of protecting the life of the woman, the doctors think of saving the foetus. This is the chilling effect of the Constitutional Tribunal's decision in action." said Kamila Ferenc, the lawyer at the Federation for Women and Family Planning.

Organizations Join Council of Europe’s Urgent Call for Poland to Ensure Access to Lawful Abortion Care and Services

March 16, 2021
Center for Reproductive Rights

On 11 March 2021, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe issued a resolution calling on Poland to adopt, without further delay, long overdue clear and effective procedures for women’s access to lawful abortion care and information.

The resolution expresses serious concerns about Poland’s longstanding failure to comply with the European Court of Human Rights’ judgments in the cases of Tysiąc v. Poland, R.R. v. Poland and P. and S. v. Poland. In these judgments, the Court found a number of human rights violations, citing the multiple obstacles and deplorable treatment that the applicants faced in seeking access to lawful abortion care in Poland. The judgments became final in 2007, 2011, and 2013, respectively. Ample time has passed since the first of these landmark judgments, and yet Poland has repeatedly failed to take effective measures to meet these judgments.

Continued: http://reproductiverights.org/press-room/organizations-join-council-europes-urgent-call-poland-ensure-access-lawful-abortion-care

POLAND: Committee on Legal Abortion Without Compromises announced

International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion
5 February 2021

Women’s Strike and other pro-choice groups held a press conference on the morning of 3 February in Warsaw. They announced the formation of a Committee on Legal Abortion Without Compromises , which includes: Women's Strike, Abortion Dream Team, Federation for Women and Family Planning, Łódź Dziewuchy Dziewuchom, Grand Coalition for Equality and Choice, and Women's Rights Centre.

The Committee announced that they had drafted a new bill to be tabled in the Polish parliament by the left coalition when sufficient signatures have been gathered; this is the result of cooperation between organisations and women's groups that have been fighting for the right to abortion for many years, and also includes eight women members of parliament from left-wing parties.

Continued: https://mailchi.mp/safeabortionwomensright/newsletter-5-february-2021?e=372dd34034

Poland – Women’s movement prepares abortion bill

FEBRUARY 03, 2021
First News

The leader of Women’s Strike, the organisation that has spearheaded mass abortion protests, has said that Poland faces a “nightmare moment” when a near-total ban on abortion “becomes a fact”.

Marta Lempart made the claim as she and the organisation presented the draft of a bill legalising abortion until the 12th week of pregnancy, which they plan to present to parliament.

Continued: https://www.thefirstnews.com/article/womens-movement-prepares-abortion-bill-19554

As Polish abortion laws tighten women fear an impossible choice

Her baby could not possibly survive. Still they decided she should have it

Kasia Strek, Warsaw | Peter Conradi

Saturday November 07 2020

Sitting on a hard plastic seat in the corridor of the Bielanski Hospital in
north Warsaw last week, waiting for her abortion pill to take effect,
Malgorzata quietly recounted her struggle to get a termination for a foetal
abnomality in a country bitterly divided over the sanctity of unborn life.

While huge crowds have been on the streets to oppose a hardening of Poland’s already
strict abortion laws, Malgorzata has had to travel from hospital to hospital to
find one willing to help her.

It was six weeks ago, during the 12th week of her pregnancy, that the
34-year-old businesswoman learnt there was something wrong with the baby she
was carrying: it was too small, did not move much and there was an abnormality
in the jawbone.

Continued: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/as-polish-abortion-laws-tighten-women-fear-an-impossible-choice-fbhgvj6gk

Polish hospitals begin turning away women seeking abortions

Institutions appear to enforce controversial ban despite legislation not yet taking effect

Hannah Summers
Fri 30 Oct 2020

Hospitals in Poland have been turning away women seeking abortions even though a court ruling that has instituted a near-total ban on terminations has not yet taken effect.

The ban, which outlaws one of the three narrow exceptions under which abortion is still permitted – that of severe foetal defects – has sparked huge protests in Poland.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/oct/30/polish-hospitals-begin-turning-away-women-seeking-abortions

Protesters gather after Polish court supports almost total ban on abortion

Curbing access to procedure a long-standing ambition of country's ruling party

Thomson Reuters
Posted: Oct 22, 2020

Protesters gathered across Poland on Thursday after the Constitutional Tribunal ruled that abortion due to fetal defects was unconstitutional, banning the most common of the few legal grounds for ending a pregnancy in the largely Catholic country.

After the ruling goes into effect, abortion will only be permissible in Poland in cases of rape, incest or when a mother's health and life are in danger, which make up only about two per cent of legal terminations conducted in recent years.

Continued: https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/poland-court-abortion-law-1.5773722