Polish Woman Wins Case After Denied Abortion

A Polish woman who was denied an abortion, even though her health was jeopardized by the pregnancy, won her case before the European Court of Human Rights. The Court ordered that Poland must pay Alicia Tysiac $52,000 in damages.

Tysiac, who is a single mother of three, suffers from a severe eye disease and was told by multiple eye specialists that having a third pregnancy would worsen her condition and possibly cause her to go blind. Despite the diagnoses, Tysiac was unable to obtain a doctor’s written notice authorizing an abortion procedure — a requirement necessary to obtain an abortion in Poland, where strict abortion laws only allow abortion in cases of a threat to a woman’s life or health, severe and permanent handicaps of the fetus, and rape or incest.

After giving birth, Tysiac’s eyesight considerably worsened, and she has been declared disabled. The Court ruled that Poland had no effective legal framework to determine whether a woman should be granted an abortion due to medical reasons, reports the New York Times. The court ruling will have no effect on Poland’s strict abortion laws, but does bring into the forefront some of the harsh restrictions on Polish women’s reproductive rights.


BBC News 3/21/07; Reuters 3/21/07; New York Times 3/21/2007

Support eh ERA banner