Polish health minister ‘appalled’ that girl, 14, struggled to get abortion after rape
Poland’s Health Minister Adam Niedzielski (above) has weighed in on a high-profile rape case, saying it was “unacceptable” that a mentally disabled 14-year-old girl had struggled to get a legal abortion. The case, in which doctors at several hospitals near where she lives, used the so-called conscience clause to avoid carrying out an abortion, has sparked renewed calls to ease the country’s abortion law. His response, he said, was unequivocal.
Abortion in Poland is still legal if the pregnancy results from sexual assault or threatens the life or health of the woman or girl. The girl became pregnant after she was sexually assaulted by her uncle, according to the women’s rights group Federa. Federa first reported the case and said the teenager had mental disabilities and was unaware of the pregnancy until her aunt discovered what had happened and tried to help her get an abortion. An abortion was ultimately carried out in Warsaw after Federa stepped in.
The case has prompted opposition politicians to call for a change in the law. “The conscience clause is a barbaric and inhumane law … and should be scrapped,” leftwing MP Katarzyna Kotula told reporters. Centre-left lawmaker Barbara Nowacka said the opposition would draft a bill restricting the use of the clause by doctors.
The government Ombudsman, Marcin Wiacek, said the case showed deficiencies in the legal system and that the teenager should have been informed of hospitals willing to provide the abortion.
SOURCE: The Guardian, by Agence France-Presse, Warsaw, 30 January 2023
In the 2 February 2023 ICWRSA Newsletter report: “Health Minister ‘appalled’ that girl, 14, struggled to get an abortion after rape”, there was an error — the girl was actually 24 years old.
CORRECTION FROM: Daniel Tilles, Notes from Poland in: CEE Bulletin on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. No. 01 (209) 2023
STOP PRESS: At the invitation of Renew Europe, Justyna was at the European Parliament and spoke on behalf of the Abortion Dream Team this week! The next date of the continuation of her trial in Poland is 6 February. Watch this space!!!