Poland's abortion laws 'ineffective'
PR dla Zagranicy
Poland's civil rights ombudsman says the country's strict abortion laws are “ineffective” in meeting the requirements of the European Court of Human Rights.
Ombudsman Irena Lipowicz. Photo: PAP/Tomasz Gzell
In a report submitted to Minister of Health Bartosz Arlukowicz, Ombudsman Irena Lipowicz argued that women still face problems in obtaining what Poland classes as a legal abortion.
According to Lipowicz, an amendment to the law on patients' rights is necessary regarding the current appeal process against doctors' decisions.
“The implementation of the formal requirements [laid down by the European Court of Human Rights] cannot be considered satisfactory,” says the report.
Abortion is permitted in Poland, under some of the most strict laws in the EU, if the woman's life or health is jeopardised by the continuation of a pregnancy, if the pregnancy is a result of a criminal act such as rape, or if the foetus is seriously malformed.
However, until recently Polish women were not entitled to appeal against a doctor's decision if a clinic declined to carry out an abortion.
This led to a widely publicized case in 2007, when the European Court of Human Rights ruled in favour of a Polish woman denied an abortion.
Alicja Tysiac had been told by doctors that her third pregancy put her at risk of going blind, but she was declined the operation.
After Tysiac gave birth, she suffered a retinal haemmorage, and took the matter to Strasbourg.
Although an appeal process has existed now since 2008, Lipowicz argues that it lacks clarity. (nh/pg)