Death of pregnant woman ignites debate about abortion ban in Poland

Tens of hundreds of Poles took to the streets to protest in January this 12 months when a Constitutional Tribunal ruling from October 2020 that terminating pregnancies with fetal defects was unconstitutional got here into impact, eliminating essentially the most continuously used case for authorized abortion.

Activists say Izabela, a 30-year-old lady within the twenty second week of being pregnant who her household stated died of septic shock after medical doctors waited for her unborn child’s coronary heart to cease beating, is the primary lady to die on account of the ruling.

The authorities says the ruling was to not blame for her loss of life, quite an error by medical doctors.

Izabela went to hospital in September after her waters broke, her household stated. Scans had beforehand proven quite a few defects within the fetus.

“The baby weighs 485 grams. For now, thanks to the abortion law, I have to lie down. And there is nothing they can do. They’ll wait until it dies or something begins, and if not, I can expect sepsis,” Izabela stated in a textual content message to her mom, non-public broadcaster TVN24 reported.

When a scan confirmed the fetus was lifeless, medical doctors on the hospital in Pszczyna, southern Poland, determined to carry out a Caesarean. The household’s lawyer, Jolanta Budzowska, stated Izabela’s coronary heart stopped on the way in which to the working theater and he or she died regardless of efforts to resuscitate her.

Protesters hold up lights, a Polish flag and a photograph of Iza as they take part in a demonstration on November 6, 2021 in Warsaw.

“I couldn’t believe it, I thought it wasn’t true,” Izabela’s mom Barbara informed TVN24. “How could such a thing happen to her in the hospital? After all, she went there for help.”

Budzowska has began authorized motion over the therapy Izabela obtained, accusing medical doctors of malpractice, however she additionally referred to as the loss of life “a consequence of the verdict”.

In a press release on its web site, the Pszczyna County Hospital stated it shared the ache of all these affected by Izabela’s loss of life, particularly her household.

“It should … be emphasized that all medical decisions were made taking into account the legal provisions and standards of conduct in force in Poland,” the hospital stated.

On Friday, the hospital stated it had suspended two medical doctors who had been on obligation on the time of the loss of life.

The Supreme Medical Chamber, which represents Polish medical doctors, stated it was not instantly capable of remark.

Not yet another

When the case got here to public consideration on account of a tweet from Budzowska, the hashtag #anijednejwiecej or “not one more” unfold throughout social media and was taken up by protesters demanding a change to the regulation.

However, Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) celebration rejects claims that the Constitutional Tribunal ruling was responsible for Izabela’s loss of life, attributing it to a mistake by medical doctors.

“When it comes to the life and health of the mother … if it is in danger, then terminating the pregnancy is possible and the ruling does not change anything,” Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki stated on Friday.

PiS lawmaker Bartlomiej Wroblewski informed Reuters that the case shouldn’t be “instrumentalized and used to limit the right to life, to kill all sick or disabled children.”

But activists say the ruling has made medical doctors scared to terminate pregnancies even when the mom’s life is in danger.

“Izabela’s case clearly shows that the ruling of the Constitutional Tribunal has had a chilling effect on doctors,” Urszula Grycuk of the Federation for Women and Family Planning informed Reuters.

“Even a condition that should not be questioned — the life and health of the mother — is not always recognized by doctors because they are afraid.”

Overturning Roe could mean women seeking abortions have to travel hundreds of miles
In Ireland, the loss of life of 31-year-old Savita Halappanavar in 2012 after she was refused a termination provoked a nationwide outpouring of grief credited by many as a catalyst for the liberalization of abortion legal guidelines.

Budzowska informed Reuters {that a} debate much like the one which befell in Ireland was underway in Poland.

“Both Izabela’s family and I personally hope that this case … will lead to a change in the law in Poland,” she stated.

Poland’s president proposed altering the regulation final 12 months to make abortions attainable in instances the place the fetus was not viable. The Law and Justice dominated parliament has but to debate the invoice.

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