A few months ago, the management of a private Polish hospital threatened legal action against a pro-life midwife. Recently, the representatives of the same medical facility have gone to court to sue two pro-life activists.
In February 2014, Agata Rejman, the midwife working at the Specialist Hospital Pro-Familia in Rzeszów, got a threatening letter after she publicly discussed abortions performed at the medical facility. In the letter, hospital manager Radosław Skiba alleged that she had damaged the image and reputation of the clinic. He demanded retraction of “false statements”, most importantly regarding “killing children”. Skiba also demanded that she pay 50,000 złotych (approximately $17,000) for a children’s hospice. Finally, the letter threatened legal action if Rejman refused to comply.
Now similar allegations have been leveled against Jacek Kotula, 48, and Przemysław Sycz, 35, pro-life activists from The Right to Life Foundation (Fundacja PRO- Prawo do życia: www.STOPABORCJI.PL ). In April, the case against the two men began.
Kotula and Sycz had started anti-abortion pickets in front of the Pro-Familia hospital after Rejman asked for help (pictured right). Kotula, already a well- known and outspoken opponent of in-vitro insemination, vowed to organize as many protests as needed to stop the hospital from performing abortions. Kotula has since taken part in eleven protests, some in front of the clinic, and others at sporting events, such as a volleyball championship.
Thanks to these actions, thousands of Rzeszów inhabitants have seen the truth about abortion. After one of the pickets, the police came and confiscated the banners showing aborted babies and photos of Pro-Familia hospital officials.
The hospital lawsuit soon followed trouble with the police.
The hospital’s lawyer accused the activists of disseminating false information when they equated abortion with killing. Additionally, he reproached them for generating negative publicity in the media. Lastly, the hospital defended its abortion practice by arguing that pregnancy terminations “are not different from spontaneous miscarriage”. From the language used by the lawyer, it seems that the owners of the hospital believe that abortion does not mean killing unborn children.
This is a very surprising conclusion. After all, even some abortionists have admitted publicly that abortion means killing. Furthermore, a Polish statute clearly defines a child as a person from the moment of conception. How then, under Polish law, can abortion be described by any word other than “killing children”?
The hospital also seems to be forgetting about Poland’s most important law. Ludwik Skurzak, Kotula and Sycz’s lawyer, is confident that his clients did nothing illegal, pointing out that free speech rights are protected in the Polish Constitution. Their freedom of expression is guaranteed by the Convention for the Protection of the Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
What’s certain is that the hospital has picked a fight with a tough adversary. Not even his personal fight with cancer has kept Kotula from taking to the streets to defend the unborn. What chance does a bullying hospital have?
For his part, Kotula , as well as the rest of The Right to Life Foundation, welcome the publicity created by such cases. As Mariusz Dzierżawski, one of the founders of The Right to Life Foundation said, “The lawsuits help us a lot. We always try to maximize media attention”.
And indeed, throughout the years, The Right to Life Foundation has received plenty of media coverage. Their activists have had nine lawsuits, all of which ended in dismissal or victory for the pro-lifers. The group is probably the most sued organization in Poland.
Concerning the group’s most recent lawsuit, Kotula said, “We are simply accused of telling the truth”.
Kotula surely knows, and Pro-Familia hospital would do well to remember, the words of George Washington: “Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains taken to bring it to light.”
LifeNews Note: Natalia Dueholm is a Polish journalist, an editor of a quarterly “Opcja na Prawo”. She wrote an Open Letter of Women Journalists Against Abortion (available also in English).