Poland marches against abortion law after pregnant woman dies in hospital for want of care
After the death of a 30-year-old pregnant woman in hospital, protests have sparked across Poland against the abortion law on Saturday. Thousands of protesters chanted, “Her heart was beating too.”
According to the family, the hospital staff refused to provide life-saving healthcare to the woman because they were afraid of breaking the country’s strict abortion law.
Senior opposition politicians, which included European Council former president Donald Tusk, joined the demonstrators.
After being admitted to a hospital in Pszczyna, south-western Poland, Izabela – whose surname has not been made public– wrote in a text message to her mother, “For now, because of the abortion law, I have to stay in bed and they can’t do anything. Alternatively, they will wait for the baby to die or for something to start happening. If it doesn’t, then great, I can expect sepsis.”
The next morning at 4 am, Izabela died. The consultant responsible for Izabela informed her husband, the death was caused by a pulmonary embolism, adding that “sometimes it happens”, the lawyer representing Izabela’s family, Jolanta Budzowska, told the Guardian. However, the initial autopsy found that the woman died of septic shock.
Although Izabela died on September 22, her death was made public by the family last week, sparking controversy and protests across Poland.
“Following the tightening of the abortion law in Poland due to the 2020 ruling of the constitutional tribunal, there remains only one ground for an abortion which would have applied in this case: endangerment of the life or health of the mother,” Budzowska said.
“However, it is hard for the doctors to apply this in practice. They do not know if they make the right decision when this real danger occurs. If they carry out an abortion too early and the prosecutors then decide that there was no danger to the mother, they can face up to three years in prison,” the lawyer added.
“I can still hear her words to this day, that she wants to live, that she doesn’t want to die, that she has people to live for,” a woman, who shared the room in hospital with the victim, told the Polish TV station TVN.