Ombudsman calls for precise legal abortion regulations

Albert Zawada/PAP

Marcin Wiacek, Poland's national ombudsman, on Thursday appealed for more precise regulations and "measurable criteria" for legal abortions.

In a letter to Elzbieta Witek, the speaker of the Polish Sejm (lower parliamentary house), Wiacek wrote that a 2020 ruling by the Polish constitutional court banning almost all abortion was not followed by legislative steps regulating cases where a pregnancy can be terminated.

In his letter, Wiacek also stressed that doctors needed "measurable criteria" by which to state the admissibility of abortion.

Wiacek's appeal comes in the wake of the recent death of a pregnant woman whose foetus had been diagnosed with lethal defects. The 33-year-old woman died from sepsis after doctors refused to abort the foetus, and instead waited for it to die by itself.

According to a large part of the public, the doctors' stance in the matter stemmed from fear of punishment, as the 2020 abortion ban also bans abortion on the grounds of foetal damage.

Following the Constitutional Tribunal's 2020 ruling, all abortion in Poland is now outlawed except when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, or when it threatens the health or life of the mother.

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