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The Episcopate against abortion due to the mother’s mental condition. The psychiatrist comments: there is no worse suffering

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The Episcopate does not constitute law in Poland, but presents a position. It was the abortion issue that caused outrage. The priests and four lay members of the commission concluded that “due to the mother’s mental disorders, abortion cannot be legally permitted.” However, experts disagree with this.

The Team of Bioethics Experts of the Polish Episcopal Conference has just concluded that “abortion cannot be legally permitted due to the presence of mental disorders in the mother.” – We cannot deprive a child of life because of the mother’s mental condition – emphasizes Prof. Andrzej Kochański, geneticist, member of the church team.

– It is not the Episcopate’s responsibility to pass laws in Poland – points out Agnieszka Pomaska, an MP from the Civic Coalition. – We will not allow the Church to dictate to women how they should behave – adds Katarzyna Lubnauer, MP from the Civic Coalition.

Women in Poland still have the right to terminate a pregnancy when their life or health is at risk. – A threat to mental health may be the basis for terminating a pregnancy – said Paweł Grzesiewski from the Office of the Patient Ombudsman.

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The Patient Rights Ombudsman understands health as the World Health Organization understands it. – We see it as overall health, i.e. in addition to physical health, also mental well-being – explains Grzesiewski.

The Bioethics Committee of the Polish Academy of Sciences “concerned about what is happening in Polish gynecology and obstetrics”Katarzyna Górniak/Fakty TVN

What does the church team advise women?

However, the reasoning of the Patient Ombudsman is not an indicator for the church team of experts. – The Episcopate does not use such a utopian definition of health and full well-being, which I, at least, have never experienced in my life – says Prof. Andrzej Kochański.

– There is no worse suffering in my office, I have not seen worse suffering than in women who are diagnosed with embryopathological defects in their fetus – emphasizes Maja Herman, a psychiatrist.

The church team advises women to use institutional help. The document lists single mother’s homes, adoption centers, windows of life, social welfare and facilities run by nuns, because “the mere fact of being pregnant” is not “a sufficient stressor leading to the occurrence of mental disorders”, which can be treated.

– This also shows how the Church treats women: as irrational, stupid, irresponsible beings – comments Joanna Scheuring-Wielgus, an MP from the Left.

We wanted to ask the Minister of Health whether the authorities intend to meet the Church’s demand and remove mental health from the grounds for legal abortion, but she consistently does not talk to journalists. – Of course, PiS and Konfederacja will take advantage of this, after all, it was at the dictation of the bishops that they introduced the abortion ban – says Barbara Nowacka, an MP from the Civic Coalition.

Now the bishops have this vision: “Whenever possible, she should be allowed to perform a heroic act, which would be to sacrifice her own life to save the life of a child if it had a chance to survive.” – This is a heroic act, i.e. she is able to sacrifice her life for the health of the child – explains Andrzej Kochański, who sits not only in the church team, but also on the scientific council of the Ordo Iuris organization.

Main photo source: Fakty TVN

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