Tusk says ruling party politicians are 'serial killers' of women
Opposition leader Donald Tusk has blamed Poland's near-total abortion law for the deaths of several pregnant women in hospital, calling the politicians of the ruling party Law and Justice (PiS) "serial killers of women."
On Friday, Civic Platform, the main opposition party which is led by Tusk, organised a demonstration against the abortion law, which has become much tighter under the rule of the socially-conservative Law and Justice party.
The demonstration followed public outrage over the recent death of a 33-year-old woman who had been hospitalised in the southern town of Nowy Targ, following complications with her pregnancy, which was in its fifth month.
She was not offered an abortion even though the procedure is permissible if the pregnancy poses a threat to the health of life of the woman.
But according to pro-abortion campaigners, a fear of legal retribution instilled in doctors by the near-total abortion ban has led to them refusing to provide an abortion even if a woman needs one.
"We want to live in a country where you don't have to be a hero or risk prison... to save a woman's life in a hospital," Tusk told the participants of the rally held at Wolnosci Square in the western city of Poznan, a symbolic place where in recent years a large number of demonstrations in defence of women's rights have taken place.
"Recently, with great sorrow in our hearts, we have been repeating these names, names-symbols. Exactly two years and two days have passed since Anna's tragic death in the hospital in Swidnica, and then, after a few months, Izabela, then three or four months have passed - Justyna, then Agnieszka, then Marta, and several days ago Dorota from Nowy Targ," he said.
According to Tusk, PiS has built its power "on fear and on humiliation" which in the end brought such tragic results.
"Today the authorities are serial killers of women; they are responsible for their deaths... these tragedies fall on their heads," he said.
Tusk further argued that no one deserves more "care and tenderness" from state institutions than a mother or a woman "at risk of health or life" and her child.
"There is nothing more painful than the awareness that in such a difficult moment ... in a Polish woman's life, one sees a brutal, heartless state that focuses all the power to intimidate doctors, to intimidate women, to intimidate families," Tusk said.
He also urged Polish doctors "to show civil courage."