Support Polish women in their struggle to ensure access to legal medical services concerning their reproductive health.
Polish citizens are calling on the government and Bartosz Arłukowicz, the health minister, to ensure Polish women’s full access to lawful medical procedures and services that are connected to their reproductive health.
- in light of the recent, disturbing events in Poland where 3 thousand doctors signed the “Declaration of Faith of Catholic doctors and medical students regarding human sexuality and fertility” which openly targets women’s reproductive rights stating that the human body is sacred and is inviolable from conception to natural death, beginning with the words “I believe in one God, the Lord of the Universe, who created males and females in his own image,…, If such a man chooses to violate the basic beliefs of the 10 commandments, by committing acts such as abortion, artificial inception, euthanasia or using contraception, then they reject the Creator himself”. Doctors in Poland already abuse the conscience clause on a large scale, by using it even to deny women’s access to prescribed contraception;
- in light of the recent media reports about yet another victim of this declaration where a woman, in the name of the doctor’s conscience clause was denied access to abortion and will now be forced to deliver a terminally ill child. The doctor broke the law by not directing the patient to another medical facility where she could obtain access to legal abortion, but instead forced her to undergone unnecesary medical examinations to postpone the abortion until it would be illegal. He then advised her to place the terminally ill child in a hospice or adoption. A few days ago, the public opinion was shaken by the news that two teenage boys raped their eleven year old cousin. As a result of the rape the girl child became pregnant, and her parents requested legal abortion. The court has granted the right to abortion, but once the decision of the court became public conservative columnists started publicly moralizing the girl child to not “murder the innocent unborn baby”, regardless of the girl’s and her family’s will, despite the wrongs she suffered as a result of the rape and regardless of the mental and physical consequences the pregnancy and childbirth will have on the 11 yr victim;
- in light of the history Poland has with breaking women’s rights where the Polish Government lost at least three cases in the European Court of Human Rights for breaking women’s abortion rights. Perhaps the most known is the 2007 case of Alicja Tysiąc who was forced to deliver a pregnancy that caused serious damage to her sight. She took her case all the way to Strasbourg and won. What followed was a media lynching of Ms Tysiąc that caused her severe distress and anguish. She was compared to Adolf Hitler, accused of trying to murder her child but she continued fighting for her rights. She won several other court cases against journalists and a Catholic newspaper.
The discriminatory consequences of the anti- abortion law in Poland continue to be ignored by the Polish Government. Poland has what is considered one of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe. It is allowed only in three cases: in case of rape/incest, in case of a threat to the woman’s health and in cases of fetal malformation. But since 2007 the situation in Poland regarding abortion rights has worsened. In the recent years there were few attempts to further restrict access to abortion. The anti-choice civic bill which aims to ban all abortions in case of fetal malformation was read in the Polish Parliament on 26th of September 2012 and was rejected by a majority of only one vote. Two years earlier a bill banning all abortions was passed on its first reading and was only rejected in the second reading by a small majority of votes.
All these past and recent developments concerning women’s access to legal medical services, including legal abortion, have sparked an outcry among Poles. Men and women across the country are calling on the health minister to take drastic measures to ensure women’s full access to reproductive health services in Poland. We demand the minister’s immediate response and decisive actions. Poland is still a secular country and we will do all we can to keep it this way. If you support our struggle sign this petition. Thank you!