Lawyers say Poland shocked over abortion fine
By Estefania Aguirre
Judges of the European Court of Human Rights. Credit: Council of Europe.
Judges of the European Court of Human Rights. Credit: Council of Europe.

.- Local attorneys say the European Court of Human Right's decision to fine Poland for not helping a girl obtain an abortion four years ago has unsettled many in the country.

“I think it's very sad that it's gotten to this point,” Gabriel Olearnik, a lawyer in Warsaw, told CNA.

“This story encourages Poland to be more inclined now to changing the law because of Europe's lack of sympathy,” he said.

On Oct. 30, the European Court of Human Rights fined Poland $80,000 U.S. dollars for denying an abortion to a girl who was allegedly raped as a 14-year-old in 2008.

Hospitals in the girl's home town Lublin and in Warsaw did not allow her to have an abortion. But the teenager, known only as “P,” eventually had the abortion in Gdansk after the Ministry of Health intervened.

“It's difficult to say if she was raped,” said Olearnik. “We lump different things as rape: there can be statutory rape, non-consensual rape, etc. The problem with rape is that it's very difficult to prove because you are trying to prove the consent, not the act.”

The Strasbourg court, which rules over 47 European countries, labeled the refusal of the abortion to the girl as “inhumane and degrading,” and said she had not received objective medical counseling.

Local attorney Karina Walinowicz called the European court's verdict “completely out of order and conflicting with Polish law.”

“I'm really worried this could dangerously impact future cases,” she told CNA.
Poland’s current law allows for abortion in three cases: rape, if the mother’s health is at grave risk, or if the fetus suffers from a disease or malformation.

According to statistics, Poland veers towards a pro-life stance, and the tendency is growing, with 76 percent of Poles aged 15 to 24 favoring a total ban on it.

One of Poland's biggest opinion poll agencies, CBOS, reported that those who viewed abortion as acceptable went down dramatically from 65 percent in 1993 to 9 percent in 2011. And another Polish market research agency, Grupa IQS, stated that 65 percent of Poles viewed abortion as unacceptable in 2011.  
There are now 47 locations in Poland where mothers can bring their babies and leave them anonymously in a safe place to be found and cared for.

Olearnik, who also serves coordinator for Catholic Voices Polska, added that incest and rape are issues that garner a lot of media attention, despite their rare occurrences.

“We're talking about this as if it's a huge proportion of abortion cases and it's actually not. It's a very small percentage, maybe not even one percent. There is a much bigger issue which isn't being dealt with, which is the push for abortion,” he added.

Olearnik said the U.S.'s “language of right'” with regard to abortion is being exported, without consideration of whether or not it's actually applicable to the country's situation.

“Write good laws that can be applied to the vast majority of cases, and that deal with the small percentage of cases in the best possible way,” said Olearnik.

“Don't write laws which deal only with exceptional circumstances.”

“Abortion doesn't erase the rape,” said Olearnik. “I encourage people to pull the maximum good to look after the girl and the unborn child. You need to be compassionate, but you need to protect both.”  

Poland and Ireland are currently the only two countries in the European Union, which have not implemented the EU's abortion laws.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Synod on the Family October 2014
Preferential option for the poor
God is alive, even in sport
'A forbidden God' named Best Film at the International Catholic Film Festival
Vatican backs a 'Pause for Peace' during World Cup final
The effects of religious violence in Sarajevo 
The origin of Corpus Christi 
Corpus Christi at the Vatican 
Homage to an Indian Cardinal
Train of the Child's Light
New book explaining gestures of the Mass
Encounter between Pope Francis and the Charismatic Renewal in the Spirit Movement.
Religious tensions subside amid Balkan floods
John Paul II Center for Studies on Marriage and Family
Saint John Paul II on cartoon
Syrian Christian refugees

Liturgical Calendar

July 25, 2014

Saint James, Apostle

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 20:20-28


Daily Readings

First Reading:: 2 Cor 4: 7-15
Gospel:: Mt 20: 20-28

Saint of the Day

St. James »


Homily of the Day

Mt 20:20-28


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: