Poles protest strict abortion law after pregnant Iza and baby die

Women’s rights activists say Poland’s newly restrictive abortion law is to blame for the death of a pregnant woman.

from aljazeera.com/gallery ..7 Nov 2021 .. shared with thanks

The new abortion law, which banned terminations in cases of foetal defects, sparked all over the country under the slogan “Not one more”. [Adam Warzawa/EPA]

Protesters have turned out in Warsaw and in many other Polish cities to decry the country’s restrictive abortion law, which they say has led to the death of a pregnant woman who had medical problems.

Before the new restriction, women in Poland could have abortions only in three cases: if the pregnancy resulted from rape, if the woman’s life was at risk, or in the case of irreparable defects of the foetus. [Lukasz Cynalewski/Agencja Wyborcza.pl via Reuters]

The protesters on Saturday held portraits of the woman, 30-year-old Iza, who died in hospital in Pszczyna, southern Poland, from septic shock. She died in September but her death just became known in the last week.

Doctors at the hospital held off terminating her 22-week pregnancy despite the fact that her foetus lacked enough amniotic fluid to survive, her family and a lawyer said.

The doctors have been suspended and prosecutors are investigating.

The protesters gathered before the Constitutional Tribunal, which had ruled last year that terminating a pregnancy with congenital defects is against Poland’s constitution. [Czarek Sokolowski/AP Photo]

Women’s rights activists say the woman was a victim of Poland’s newly restrictive abortion law. Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal ruled last year that terminating a pregnancy with congenital defects is against Poland’s constitution.

Activists say doctors in Poland, a heavily Catholic nation, now wait for a foetus with severe defects to die in the womb rather than perform an abortion. Unlawful abortion can carry a sentence of up to eight years in prison.

People protest in Lodz, after the death of Izabela, a 30-year-old woman in the 22nd week of pregnancy. Activists say she could still be alive if the abortion law was not so strict. [Marcin Stepien/Agencja Wyborcza.pl via Reuters]

Participating in the protest in Warsaw, under the motto of “Not One More” woman to die, was Donald Tusk, the former European Union leader who is now head of Poland’s opposition. The protesters gathered before the Constitutional Tribunal then marched to the health ministry and lit up their mobile phones in memory of the woman who died.

Protests were also held in Gdansk, Poznan, Wroclaw, Bialystok and other cities.

People protest in Wroclaw. Those in favour of the new restriction say it is not clear that it led to the woman’s death. [Krzysztof Cwik/Agencja Wyborcza.pl via Reuters]

Before the new restriction, women in Poland could have abortions only in three cases: if the pregnancy resulted from rape, if the woman’s life was at risk, or in the case of irreparable defects of the foetus. The last possibility was removed by the tribunal’s verdict.

Those in favour of the new restriction say it is not clear that it led to the woman’s death.

Protests take place under the slogan “Not one more” in Gdansk, north Poland. [Adam Warzawa/EPA]

Health Minister Adam Niedzielski said the case was “difficult” and needed close analysis. He said instructions will be issued to make it clear to obstetricians that a “woman’s safety is a reason to terminate a pregnancy”.

Protests were also held in Gdansk, Poznan, Wroclaw, Bialystok and in many other cities. [Adam Warzawa/EPA]

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