Poland’s health minister clarified Sunday that women have a right to medically necessary abortions after protests over a pregnant woman’s recent death.
Protests broke out in Warsaw over the weekend when news broke of a woman dying of septic shock after doctors elected not to perform an abortion. She was 22 weeks pregnant, and the fetus did not have enough amniotic fluid to survive, a lawyer for the woman’s family said, according to the Associated Press.
Poland’s health ministry reminded doctors that the country’s abortion laws make exceptions for pregnancies that threaten a mother’s health or life in addition to rape or incest on Sunday, BBC News reported.
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The attorney for the woman’s family reportedly argued that the country’s abortion restrictions required doctors to wait too long to save the woman’s life. The doctors who treated the woman have been suspended and the case is being investigated by prosecutors, according to BBC News.
The country ruled unconstitutional a law allowing abortion of babies to be born with congenital defects in Oct. 2020, outlawing the most common reason for abortion, according to the AP. Widespread protests also erupted in Poland in response to the 2020 ruling. (RELATED: SNL Airs Bizarre Clown-Themed Abortion Skit)
Many European nations have stricter abortion laws than the U.S.; all but three of the more than forty countries in Europe ban or restrict elective abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
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