by Steven Ertelt
May 25, 2007
Warsaw, Poland (LifeNews.com) — The government in Poland may appeal a European court’s ruling awarding monetary damages to a woman who claims that giving birth damaged her eyesight and she is now unable to take care of her three children. The woman was denied an abortion in 2000 and the European Court of Human Rights awarded her $52,000.
Marek Jurek, of the Polish Right group, suggested Poland should appeal the ruling which he said violated rights guaranteed by Polish law, Radio Polonia reported.
Jurek said the Polish government should defend the right to life of unborn children protected by law in the eastern European country.
Poland is one of a few nations in Europe to prohibit abortions they are legal only in the rare cases of rape, incest, if the pregnancy threatens the woman’s life or there is a chance the baby will be severely deformed.
Alicja Tysiac, who is now 35, went to doctors when she found out in February 2000 that she was pregnant a third time. Three ophthalmologists alleged that carrying the pregnancy to term would damage her eyesight but they refused to sign off on a paper needed to approve an abortion for health reasons.
Tysiac also consulted with a gynecologist who told her there was no medical reason to have an abortion.
After having a Cesarean section in November 2000, Tysiac claims her eyesight deteriorated considerably due to a retinal hemorrhage.
Tysiac took her case to the European Court of Human Rights, which can’t change Poland’s pro-life abortion law but could rule her rights were violated. And that’s what it did in a six to one vote handed down in March.
"Within the context of a controversy such as entitlement to a therapeutic abortion, the Polish State had failed to safeguard Ms. Tysiac’s right to the effective respect for her private life,” the court ruled.
It said the award for damages came because of the "considerable anguish and suffering, including her fears about her physical capacity to take care of another child."
However, the court rejected her bid to cover future medical expenses related to her eyesight problems.
The court also bashed Poland for prohibiting abortions in most circumstances but allowing it for occasions when carrying the pregnancy to term would harm the health of the mother. The judges said Poland was creating a climate where abortion practitioners would be worried about being prosecuted — even when they do legal abortions in those rare cases.
Judge Javier Borrego Borrego of Spain, was the lone dissenter in the case.
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. Today the court has decided that a human being was born as a result of a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights," he wrote, according to a Bloomberg News report.
"According to this reasoning, there is a Polish child, currently six years old, whose right to be born contradicts the Convention.”
"I would never have thought that the Convention would go so far, and I find it frightening,” he concluded.
As a single parent, Tysiac says she now can’t take care of her children and can’t see objects further than 12 feet away. Because of her condition, she currently receives $167 a month on disability pay from the government.
Tysiac filed a complaint against the gynecologist but an attorney dropped out of the case because there was no link between the doctor’s advise and the woman’s eye condition.