Abortion in Poland: demonstration in Warsaw after the death of a pregnant woman

Doctors at Pszczyna hospital in Silesia said they had done all they could to save her. Tens of thousands of people demonstrated, Saturday, November 6, throughout Poland, shocked after the death of Izabela, in September, victim, according to NGOs defending women’s rights, of legislation in force since the beginning of the year that practically prohibits all abortions.

“Not one more! “, chanted the thousands of demonstrators in Warsaw who gathered in front of the seat of the Constitutional Court, holding a photo of Izabela, before going to the Ministry of Health. Similar protests took place in some 70 other Polish cities.

A protester with the portrait of Izabela, in the streets of Bialystok, in northeastern Poland, on November 6, 2021.

Twenty-two weeks pregnant, the young woman had gone to the hospital after the rupture of the water bag, said her family. Ultrasounds had previously revealed malformations of the fetus. The doctors then refused to perform a voluntary termination of pregnancy (abortion). It was not until the death of the fetus, found by ultrasound, that they decided to perform a cesarean section. According to family lawyer Jolanta Budzowska, Izabela succumbed to septic shock while being taken to the operating room. “The doctors waited for the fetus to die. The fetus is dead, the patient is dead. Septic shock “, wrote the lawyer on October 29 on Twitter.

According to her, Izabela is the first woman to have lost her life following the decision of the Constitutional Court of October 2020 which entered into force at the end of January. After the publication of his tweet, rallies were held, including in Warsaw and Krakow.

The right to abortion restricted

The Constitutional Court, supported by the nationalist government led by the Law and Justice party, outlawed the voluntary termination of pregnancy in the event of a serious malformation of the fetus, which resulted in the prohibition of any abortion except in cases of rape or incest or when the mother’s life is in danger.

According to a statement from his family, doctors at Pszczyna hospital “Have adopted a wait-and-see attitude”, which Izabela interpreted as a desire on the part of the latter not to have to perform an abortion. Anyone, including doctors helping to perform an abortion, is liable to a three-year prison sentence.

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“The child weighs 485 grams. For now, thanks to the abortion law, I have to stay in bed. And there is nothing they can do. They’ll wait until he dies or until something starts and if not, I can, great, expect sepsis ”, Izabela wrote to her mother in one of her publicized text messages. “My fever is rising. I hope that I will not have sepsis otherwise I will not get out ”, she wrote again, “It’s horror, my life is in danger. And I have to wait “. Married for ten years, Izabela had a 9-year-old daughter.

The government rejects the accusations, saying Izabela’s death was the result of a medical error. Health Minister Adam Niedzielski called on the National Authority of Gynecology and Obstetrics to formulate rules of conduct stating unambiguously that abortion is allowed in cases where a pregnant woman is in danger of death

Two doctors from Pszczyna hospital were suspended from their duties after his death and the local prosecutor’s office opened an investigation. According to women’s rights organizations, several thousand Polish women have asked for help with the goal of performing an abortion, mainly abroad.

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Le Monde with AP, AFP and Reuters

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Abortion in Poland: demonstration in Warsaw after the death of a pregnant woman

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