Polish Doctor Dismissed in ‘Abortion Refusal’ Case

ICC Note: After refusing to perform an abortion due to religious beliefs, Polish doctor Bogdan Chazan was dismissed from his position from Holy Family hospital.   When a woman requested an abortion because health risks of the baby due to head defects, Chazan declined and the baby was delivered.  The hospital ended Chazan’s contract not because he refused to do the procedure, but because authorities said that he was legally obligated to refer her to another doctor for the abortion.  This violation of rights is seen as a major violation of conscience and is a dangerous precedent for doctors worldwide.

07/09/2014 Poland (BBC News) – A Polish doctor who refused on faith grounds to perform an abortion on a woman has been dismissed, Warsaw’s mayor says.

The patient, who requested the termination after being told her child’s chances of survival because of facial and head defects were slim, subsequently delivered the child.

The doctor has disputed the findings of an inquiry and may appeal.

His dismissal has been condemned by the Catholic Church in Poland.

The baby is reportedly in intensive care with severe skull and brain deformities.

Warsaw’s Mayor, Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, said Bogdan Chazan failed to inform the mother the procedure would be illegal after 24 weeks, nor where else she could go to have it.

She said she was ending Professor Chazan’s contract as director of the city’s Holy Family hospital because of irregularities in the case.

Under Polish law, abortions are allowed until the 25th week of pregnancy if the life of the expectant mother or her child is at risk, or in cases of incest or rape.

Mr Chazan was within his rights to refuse the procedure because it conflicted with his Catholic faith, but the authorities said he was legally obliged to refer the patient to another doctor prepared to carry one out.

In a Polish television interview, he said the decision was “the start of an attack on the conscience of doctors and people in management positions in the health service”.

In a statement, Warsaw’s Roman Catholic Archbishop, Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz, said the dismissal was a “dangerous precedent that violates the rights not just of Catholics but of everyone”.

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