European abortion activists are exploiting a Polish woman’s tragic death to push for the legalized killing of unborn babies in abortions.
Vice reports a woman, identified only as Izabela, 30, died in September from septic shock after experiencing pregnancy complications at 22 weeks. Her unborn baby also died.
A lawyer for her family, Jolanta Budzowska, accused doctors at a hospital in Pszczyna, southern Poland, of delaying performing an abortion that could have saved her life because of the country’s pro-life laws.
But lawmakers and pro-life leaders point out that Poland allows abortions when the mother’s life is threatened, so the law is not to blame. The country protects unborn babies from abortion in almost all cases, but it allows exceptions in cases of rape, incest and threats to the mother’s life. In 2020, the country’s Constitutional Court struck down another exception that had allowed unborn babies with disabilities to be aborted.
Dr. Filip Furman, director of the Ordo Iuris Centre for Social Sciences and Bioethics Institute, a pro-life Catholic organization, said Polish law protects women’s and children’s lives.
“Sometimes, … there are very complicated situations where, despite the best efforts of the medical team, the patient cannot be saved,” Furman said on the organization’s website. “However, if there is actually a medical error, then the Constitutional Court’s ruling has nothing to do with it. Every human tragedy deserves an attitude with proper respect and peace.”
Authorities are investigating the woman’s death, but abortion activists and Budzowska already are blaming the 2020 ruling, according to Euro News.
Here’s more from the report:
Budzowska and the family — a husband and daughter — issued a statement with more details on Monday, claiming that the woman told family and friends in messages from the hospital that doctors were taking a “wait-and-see attitude” and not terminating the pregnancy immediately due to the restrictions on legal abortions.
In a blog post, Budzowska continued: “Doctors unanimously point out that the basic step in the treatment of septic shock in obstetrics is the emptying of the uterine cavity. Even if the foetus is alive despite the drainage of the amniotic fluid. The problem is that according to Polish law, emptying the uterine cavity while the foetus is alive is treated as termination of pregnancy.”
While she admitted that the law allows doctors to perform abortions when the mother’s life is at risk, she claimed it still is a problem.
“And here we come back to the starting point. At what stage … and under what conditions, can a doctor safely, from the point of view of his possible criminal liability, consider that the pregnancy poses a threat to the life or health of the pregnant woman?” Budzowska said.
However, lawmakers with the pro-life Law and Justice party, who control parliament, said the woman’s tragic death may have been the result of a medical error, but the pro-life laws are not to blame.
“The fact that people die is biology,” MP Marek Suski said, according to Vice. “There are indeed medical errors, there are simply sick people and, unfortunately, sometimes women still die during childbirth.”
A letter signed by more than 20 Polish doctors, lawyers and scientists also condemned the “misleading” reports that blame the country’s pro-life laws.
“We consider particularly reprehensible these attempts to use human tragedy to undermine the Polish standard of protection of human life at every stage of its development, including the prenatal stage,” they wrote. “We call for a responsible, toned down and, above all, truthful expression on such sensitive issues.”
Poland is one of the few European countries that protects unborn babies from abortions in almost all circumstances. In October 2020, its Constitutional Court struck down one of the few exceptions allowed in its 1993 abortion law: abortions on unborn babies with disabilities. The justices ruled that the exception violates the constitution because it discriminates against human beings with disabilities.
The ruling could save thousands of babies’ lives. Polish health officials reported 1,100 abortions in 2019. The country still allows abortions in cases of rape, incest or threats to the mother’s life.
A “silent majority” of the largely Catholic country supports wide-spread protections for unborn babies, according to a recent AFP report. Evidence of this can be seen in polls and recent elections where voters repeatedly have elected strong pro-life majorities to parliament.
Recent polls indicate that the “devout Catholic country is far from turning pro-choice,” the report continued. These include a 2020poll by Kantar that found 62 percent believe abortion should be legal only in limited cases and 11 percent believe it should be completely illegal. Another poll by Estymator found that 67 percent support the existing law, while only 19 percent want the country to expand abortions.