HOW THE GOVERNMENT IS PERSUADING TO ABORTION
JAN MARIA JACKOWSKI
We have another scene of a battle about life in Poland. The health minister Bartosz Arłukowicz addressed his request to 406 hospitals with gynecological- obstetrical wards in Poland for ‘ informing about the number of cases in which, in the year 2013, in the therapeutic entity run by the State, doctors referred to the conscience clause in connection with pregnant women in a situation concerning refusal in conducting a surgery of abortion and refusal of referring a woman to prenatal examinations’. The document also includes a question about further proceeding in a clinic in this case. Hospitals are to say whether - and if so – where they referred the pregnant women so that their children could be examined and annihilated in another hospital.
The initiative of the most criticized minister in the government Donald Tusk, who is complicit for the current critical state of the health service in Poland, is unprecedented and dangerous. Answers formally gained from a survey are to be the basis for preparing annual information of the Ministers’ Council about realization of the Act about family planning, protection of the human embryo and conditions of admissibility of abortion from 7 January 1993. However – although this information has been prepared many times – so far doctors have not had to answer such questions. The essence of the issue was perfectly concluded by ‘Our Journal’ – you killed, then explain it.
According to the experts of the Institute for Legal Culture the initiative of minister Arłukowicz is lawless. The actions of the Health Minister in the above-mentioned scope do not have any basis in the binding provisions of law. Moreover, at the same time, hospitals are not obliged to pass information to the authority for which the Health Ministry asked. Also – as Prof Aleskander Stępkowski emphasized on behalf of experts of Ordo Iuris – it should be noted that in many cases, even a summary indication of numbers of cases of referring to the conscience clause, can in fact lead to the infringement of art. 53 of the Bill 7 of the Constitution prohibiting a commitment to reveal the worldview, religious beliefs or religion of anybody. In this situation the director of the hospital, realizing the subjective request of the Health Ministry exposes itself to a possible responsibility for infringement of personal good of a doctor whose avoidance of performing medical services because of the conscience would be revealed in this way.
In the existing situation, I and a group of senators of the Law and Justice party, addressed our request to the health minister (senator’s interpellation) for informing on what legal provisions the mentioned letter had been sent to hospitals. For, it is easy to assume that in this way an attempt of informal pressure on doctors to do abortion is undertaken via directors of hospitals and doctors have the right to refuse to do abortion. Moreover, the confidentiality of doctors’ beliefs was infringed as well as personal data of doctors when employers revealed statistic data about the number of refusals in a hospital in which only one gynecologist or midwife works, or in which one doctor refers to the conscience clause.