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The Saker >>
When States Fail to meet Their Legal Obligation
Polish Abortion crisis
The LPR in Poland had attempted at the end of 2006 to force through
an amendment to the article 38 of the Polish Constitution which would
have transcended the already legislated for abortion rights of Polish
women. The amendment was to have read ' to protect human life from
the moment of Conception'. The campaigners launched a global
letter of protest which went through many women's groups and a
political campaign to raise awareness of the issues surrounding
women's reproductive rights.
The Vote happened and the LPR lost.
Marek Jurek has been forced to resign.
During the almost five month campaign which saw deep division in
the Polish Parliament, the Alicia Tysiac case was heard in Strasbourg, The ECHR
ruled that the Polish State had failed in their legal obligation to provide the
mother of three with a legal abortion on medical grounds, despite three
doctors advising that she would lose her sight if she was to proceed with
The original letter requesting the support of the women's activist
community is at link:- http://www.federa.org.pl/signatures.
The Tysiac case is at link:- http:/www.indymedia.ie/article/81591
The Polish and Nicaraguan abortion stories are at link;-
The Portugal vote is at link:- http://www.indymedia.ie/article/80967
The Monica Roa case which comprised a constitutional challenge to Columbian
abortion laws is at link:-
The Roa case is precedent setting because legal abortion in Columbia is
viewed as a human right and as I said earlier in comments , two very important
parts of the high impact litigation were the right to an abortion in the case
of enforced IVF and the right of a medical doctor to opt out on religious
or ethical grounds balanced against the right of the woman or child
to a free, safe and legal abortion in the state medical care system.
The importance of the precedent is obvious. the woman is respected
in her decision or need and the medical doctor has the opt out.
The Roa Case can be accessed through the link:-
The Roa judgement was in Spanish but most of it has now been translated
into English. There is a short film on the case available and I will add in the
The crisis in Poland was effected by the LPR and the Parliament is now
split. The abortion laws were already restrictive, wherein a woman or child
had to get a special permission or licence, in the case of Alicia Tysiac she
was refused that licence and forced to continue with her pregnancy despite
three expert opinions on her medical condition.
The political fall-out from the attempt to change the Polish Constitution
is in the original article, comments section.
There are now three case before the EHCR involving Irish Women's rights
to medical abortion. They are due to be heard within the next few months.
It is 10 years since Deirdre De Barra wrote her letter to the Irish Times
in which she argued for the right to a free, safe and legal abortion in this
country. It is 15 years since a judge ruled that we could legislate for
limited abortion in this state. Not one of the governments in this state has
extended that right to the women or girls who have had to travel to seek that right.