Polish doctors hide pregnancy risks to limit abortions

By refusing to reveal details to expectant mothers, such as genetic conditions, doctors hope to reduce terminations.

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    Warsaw, Poland - Some doctors in Poland are refusing to reveal the full medical implications of pregnancies to expectant mothers in an attempt to limit abortions, Al Jazeera has learned.

    Poland, a country with a Catholic majority, already has the strictest abortion laws in Europe. Many doctors also refuse to carry out abortions on moral grounds; the vast majority are carried out illegally.

    Al Jazeera interviewed Aleksandra Wiecka, who is now a mother to Jonathan. She said she was not given all the details of her pregnancy. There was a high risk of Down syndrome. It was only after Jonathan was born that she discovered he had the condition.

    READ MORE: Defying Poland's restrictive abortion law

    "Throughout all the examinations, my doctor was saying that everything is all right, that it's great," said Wiecka. "I know from many of my friends that very often, even if the doctors know something is going wrong, they won't tell the mother."

    Last month, thousands of women dressed in black and protested against proposed legislation that would have completely banned abortions, including terminations for victims of rape and incest.

    The bill was not passed, but Catholic conservatives are still pushing for a complete ban. 

    "The state has no right to interfere into people's intimate affairs. They can be ruled only by people's own conscience," said Krystyna Duniec, a professor at the Polish Academy of Social Sciences. "They have to [decide] what is right and what is wrong, and then carry the burden of the decision, for good or bad."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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