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The case of a raped young woman from Podlasie and abortion. Contradictions appeared

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There is conflicting information about the raped girl from Podlasie. They concern, inter alia, the issue of refusal to perform an abortion. According to the Minister of Health and the Ombudsman for Patients’ Rights, the materials collected during the inspection “did not confirm that the patient was denied a legal abortion”. Meanwhile, the girl’s aunt said in an interview with “Gazeta Wyborcza” that in one of the hospitals the head of the hospital declared that he would not perform the procedure. The reason was supposed to be a conscience clause. This version was also presented by Krystyna Kacpura, president of the Federation for Women and Family Planning Federa, who helped the woman gain access to legal abortion.

It is about a woman from Podlasie and reports of a refusal to terminate a pregnancy as a result of a crime, which was reported by the media at the end of January. There was a two-voice on this. Divergent versions regarding the refusal of abortion were presented on the one hand by the Minister of Health and the Ombudsman for Patients’ Rights, and on the other – by the aunt of the raped woman and the president of the Feder Foundation, who helped the injured woman to obtain access to the legal possibility of terminating a pregnancy in such a case, guaranteed by law.

Patient Rights Ombudsman: hospitals do not confirm

On Thursday in Wrocław, at a press conference, Bartłomiej Chmielowiec, the ombudsman for patients’ rights, presented the results of the report, which was prepared after analyzing the case at the request of the Minister of Health Adam Niedzielski.

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According to the Commissioner for Human Rights, the case concerned a woman who, on December 29 last year, three hours after the prosecutor’s office issued a certificate confirming the possibility of performing a legal abortion, was to undergo such a procedure in one of the hospitals in Warsaw.

– Earlier, a psychiatric consultation and consultation took place, after which the specialists assessed that the patient is aware that she is pregnant and what procedure is to be performed. And on the same day, December 29, such a procedure was performed – said Chmielowiec. “The patient left the hospital the next day,” he added.

According to the patient’s rights ombudsman, the information that any medical facility in Podlasie denied the patient a legal abortion was untrue. – None of the hospitals confirmed that there was such a situation, i.e. a refusal to perform an abortion. The collected material, explanations from hospital facilities, collected documentation, but also conversations with the staff, because such conversations were conducted on site, did not confirm that this patient was denied a legal abortion, Chmielowiec said.

Niedzielski: everything was carried out in accordance with the letter of the law

The Minister of Health Adam Niedzielski also spoke on this matter. He said that in his opinion, it was about “evoking certain social emotions and stigmatizing various solutions, and above all, what was in the center of attention in this situation, i.e. the so-called conscience clause”.

He added that on the occasion of this case, the Ministry analyzed how other European countries “have the institution of the conscience clause”. He said that in nearly 30 European countries such a clause is in force. – However, regardless of this clause, both me, as the Minister of Health, and the Ombudsman for Patients’ Rights, will always guard the enforcement of patient rights. In this case, the patient’s right to terminate the pregnancy. If all the conditions were met, then, as you can see in this case, literally three hours after the certificate was issued by the prosecutor’s office, the appropriate procedure took place. And everything was carried out in accordance with the letter of the law – said the Minister of Health.

Aunt of raped young woman: She was refused abortion in one hospital

The aunt of the raped woman and Krystyna Kacpura, president of the Federa Federation for Women and Family Planning, who helped the woman gain access to legal abortion, referred to the claims of the Minister of Health and the Ombudsman for Patient Rights in an interview with “Gazeta Wyborcza”.

As we read in the article, the relative of the raped woman said that she “was with her niece in one hospital in Podlasie, where she was refused an abortion”. “Not in a few – as reported by the media, and now mentioned by Niedzielski and Chmielowiec” – wrote “Wyborcza”.

The woman added that she was “ready to take Minister Niedzielski to this hospital.” “If it hadn’t been for the help of the ‘Federa’ foundation, that it hadn’t guided us, we certainly wouldn’t have carried out this procedure” – she said.

She then reported: “When I got a certificate from the district attorney about my niece’s right to an abortion, the chief physician came out, we entered his office, he read the certificate and said categorically that he would not do it. When I asked why, he said no, because he signs then he said that he would talk to someone else. I went out into the corridor. After a while he called me again and again said that he would not perform this procedure and repeated that he signed the conscience clause. When I told him that I he’s joking, because I have a document from the prosecutor, he said that I should go and not bother him, I should put a card on my niece, carry out the pregnancy and let the baby be born.

According to “Wyborcza”, “immediately after leaving the hospital, the aunt of the raped 24-year-old spoke to the prosecutor who issued the certificate.” “He just said that I had to keep going. Soon after, I started looking for someone on the Internet who could help us and I found ‘Federa’. I called there and they told us which hospital in Warsaw we should go to. Days counted here, because the period was ending when my niece had the right to an abortion,” said a relative of the raped woman.

The article goes on to say that the aunt “appeared with her niece in one of the Podlasie hospitals with a certificate from the district prosecutor on December 28, not December 29.” “In the evening of that day – after refusing and finding on the Internet who could help, i.e. ‘Federa’ – she reached the Warsaw hospital indicated by this organization” – added.

“Here, the doctor immediately agreed to perform the procedure and together with the nurses he was very surprised and even indignant that it was not performed in Podlasie, the closest town where we live. We returned home. In the morning we went again to this hospital and On December 29, the procedure was performed here, “said the woman in the report quoted by “GW”.

“How can you lie like that, talk such nonsense?! They should be ashamed!”

Referring to the statement of the patient’s rights advocate Bartłomiej Chmielowiec, the aunt of the raped woman said: “Three hours after the prosecutor issued the certificate, it was not even possible for us to get to Warsaw. In addition, the prosecutor had to change the header of the certificate because it was issued me, not my niece, although it continued to refer to her.”

“How can you lie like that, talk such nonsense?! They should be ashamed!” – commented on the words of the Minister of Health and the Ombudsman for patients’ rights.

“Maybe it’s my mistake that I didn’t demand a written certificate from the head physician, who was hiding behind the conscience clause, but I didn’t think about it at the time. And unfortunately, there were no witnesses to my conversation with him, he invited me to the office alone and no one else there It wasn’t,” she added in an interview with “Gazeta Wyborcza”.

President of Federa: there was an action that boiled down to asking the thief if he stole

Krystyna Kacpura, president of the Federation for Women and Family Planning Feder, also talked about this issue with “Wyborcza”. “The statement that an abortion was performed three hours after the prosecutor’s certificate was issued is untrue,” she stressed.

“Now the health minister and other officials are trying to convince the public that the whole thing was made up, because there was no patient or refusal to have an abortion due to the conscience clause. This is a lie,” Kacpura added.

“We made this case public only so that something would finally move in the Podlaskie region. For someone to check what was going on in the local hospitals. Instead, the thief was asked if he had stolen. Which hospital will admit to committing a crime? After all, they know very well that it is unlawful – a doctor can refuse, but the hospital is obliged to indicate another facility that will agree to perform an abortion,” the president of Federa pointed out.

Initially, the media reported that the woman is 14 years old. This information was provided by the Foundation for Women and Family Planning FEDER, which informed about the case. The National Prosecutor’s Office later announced that one of the Białystok prosecutor’s offices was investigating the sexual abuse of a 24-year-old woman, denying reports that the victim was 14 years old.

The foundation said the age information was incorrect, but “the rest of the information about this case is correct.”

When it comes to accessing legal abortion, age does not matter.

Main photo source: Shutterstock



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