The government of Poland will appeal the decision of the European Court of Human Rights, which requires the eastern European country to pay a citizen $36,710 in damages for denying her an abortion. The court ruled the woman’s rights were violated in a six-to-one vote.
Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski announced the decision to appeal at a news conference on Tuesday. "If we didn't appeal we would have to ease the anti-abortion laws in Poland and this wouldn't be good," Kaczynski told reporters.
The woman, Alicja Tysiac, was upset she could not get an abortion in 2000. She claims giving birth damaged her eyesight and she is now unable to take good care of her three children.
During her third pregnancy in early 2000, Tysiac visited three ophthalmologists who told her that carrying the pregnancy to term would damage her eyesight. However, they refused to sign 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 retinal hemorrhage. She can no longer see objects further than 12 feet away.
Because of her condition, the 35-year-old single mother receives a monthly $167 disability pay from the government. The court rejected her bid to cover future medical expenses related to her eyesight.
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,” he wrote. “Today, the court has decided that a human being was born as a result of a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights. … I would never have thought that the Convention would go so far, and I find it frightening.”
Poland is one of the few European nations, including Ireland and Malta, to restrict abortions. They are only permitted to save the life of the mother, in cases of rape or incest and if the unborn child has severe physical deformities.