After the death of pregnant women: Protests against the abortion ban in Poland

Status: 06.11.2021 8:09 p.m.

After the death of a pregnant woman, tens of thousands of people protested against the rigid abortion law in Poland. The woman is considered to be the first victim of the almost complete ban on abortion that has been in place for a year.

The death of a pregnant woman sparked demonstrations in Warsaw and other Polish cities. The protesters held up photos of 30-year-old Izabella and blamed the country’s rigid abortion law for her fate. Former EU Council President and current Polish opposition leader Donald Tusk was among the demonstrators in Warsaw.

Under the motto “Not a single one”, the demonstrators gathered in front of the constitutional tribunal in Warsaw and moved from there to the Ministry of Health. Last year the tribunal tightened the already strict abortion law in Poland and also banned abortion due to damage to the fetus.

The woman died of septic shock in a Pszczyna hospital in September, but her death was only known last week. Her family and lawyer said the pregnant woman did not have enough amniotic fluid. Doctors did not initiate an abortion, but waited for the death of the fetus.

The attending physicians have since been suspended and the public prosecutor’s office has started investigations. According to information from women’s rights groups, she is the first victim of the almost complete ban on abortion that has been in place for a year.

Hardly any legal terminations

In Poland there are fewer than 2000 legally performed abortions each year. However, women’s rights organizations estimate that around 200,000 Polish women have illegal abortions or go abroad to do so every year.

Before the new restriction, women in Poland could only have abortions in three cases: if the pregnancy was due to a crime such as rape, if the woman’s life was in danger, or if the fetus was permanently damaged. The last option was canceled by the decision of the tribunal. The supporters of the new regulation stated that it had not been proven that the restriction led to the death of the woman.

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