Friday, March 23, 2007

Poland loses abortion case in ECHR

Background briefing: it is increasingly clear that the 'human rights' brigade - at the UN and at the EHCR - are simply using their power to push abortion in the few places where it is still significantly restricted.

From C-Fam: In a 6-1 decision this week, the European Court of Human Rights ordered the government of Poland to award 25,000 euros to a woman who claims her human rights were violated when she was denied an abortion.

The court ruled that there had been a violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private life) of the European Convention on Human Rights, “reiterating that legislation regulating the interruption of pregnancy touched upon the sphere of private life, since, whenever a woman was pregnant, her private life became closely connected with the developing fetus.”

In 2000, Alicja Tysiac, who suffers from severe myopia, was told by several eye specialists that carrying her pregnancy to term could put her eyesight at serious risk. However, neither the specialists nor her general practitioner would authorize an abortion. Following the delivery of her third child, Tysiac suffered a retinal hemorrhage and says she fears the possibility
of future blindness. Tysiac filed suit with the European Court in 2003 with the help of an NGO, Interights.

Poland’s current laws only allow abortion if the life or the health of the mother, fetal malformation or as a result of rape or incest. According to the court’s summary of the judgment, “no procedural and regulatory framework had been put in place to enable a pregnant woman to assert her right to a therapeutic abortion, thus rendering that right ineffective.”

In the section entitled “relevant non-convention material”, the European Court quoted the 2004 non-binding recommendations of the UN Human Rights Committee (HRC) stating that Poland “should liberalize its legislation and practice on abortion.” Conservatives point out that there is no legal basis for such a statement and the ICCPR does not mention abortion.

Polish MEP Konrad Szymanski issued a press release on the court decision and emphasized that “The court has now opined on the right to abortion in Poland, which was the single purpose of the lawsuit supported by pro-abortion organizations. Such a pronouncement lies beyond the competences of the Council of Europe and outside the scope of action of the European Convention.”

Ewa Kowaleska of the Forum of Polish Women, which submitted an amicus brief to the court, noted that “none of the relevant medical specialists considered the state of the applicant’s case as warranting an abortion. Retinal detachment is a consequence of the progressing sight impairment. There were no medical contraindications against carrying the child to term and giving birth by cesarian section.” She went on to say that, “The judgment of the European
Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has an ideological basis. It is a form of pressure on Poland to consider abortion as a ‘woman’s right’.”

Upon submission to the EU accession treaty, Poland made the caveat that no EU treaty would “hamper the Polish government in regulating moral issues or those concerning the protection of human life.” In spite of this latest ruling, no changes are expected to be made in Poland’s abortion laws.

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Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen