Two recent cases in Poland and England have sparked widespread concern about abortion laws and the role of healthcare professionals in implementing them
BMJ 2023; 382 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.p1517
Published 05 July 2023
Maria Lewandowska, research fellow in reproductive and sexual health
The past weeks have seen a number of tragic events surrounding abortion in Europe. In Poland, yet another pregnant woman has died of sepsis having been denied a life-saving termination; in Britain, a woman was sentenced to 28 months in prison for taking abortion pills beyond the gestational age limit.
In Poland, abortion laws were relatively liberal during Communism. When democracy was restored in the 1990s, a new, restrictive law was imposed allowing abortion in three narrowly defined cases: when pregnancy carried a risk to the life or health of the mother; when it was a result of a crime; or in the case of severe fetal anomaly.