A woman whose vision became severely impaired after she was denied an abortion in staunchly Catholic Poland hailed a ruling in her favour by the European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday.
“I am happy with this decision. It’s a shame that I was unable to obtain justice in Poland. I am pleased it’s all over,” Alicja Tysiac, 36, told reporters.
“Every woman has the right to decide whether or not she wants a child, and the government should stay out of it,” she added.
The European court condemned Poland on Tuesday for breaching Tysiac’s human rights, in a case which put the country’s anti-abortion stance in the spotlight.
Tysiac became pregnant with her third child in 2000. She was told by three different eye specialists that she would go blind or have her vision severely impaired if she carried to term — and still, none of them would grant her a medical certificate to get an abortion on health-related grounds. A fourth doctor finally gave her one — and then the hospital in Warsaw refused to perform the procedure after the head of obstetrics there declared that there was no reason for a therapeutic abortion.
After she gave birth, her vision deteriorated from a retinal hemorrhage. She can’t see more than a meter and a half in front of her, and lives off of $193 a month in disability pension.
I’m glad she’s seeing some justice. I’m sorry that she had to go through this ordeal in order to further demonstrate that banning abortion — even with health exceptions — makes women less safe in our own bodies, and is an affront to human rights.
In the meantime, American politicians lobby to make abortion a felony offense.