Hospital Fined for Denying Abortion

Bogdan Chazan

Bogdan Chazan

Health Minister Bartosz Arłukowicz has informed the public that the Polish National Health Service (NFZ) has fined a Warsaw hospital nearly PLN 70,000 for refusing to help a heavily pregnant woman. The patient was deprived of sufficient care and was not properly examined despite the fact that her pregnancy was high risk. What is more, when it became clear that the foetus had serious birth defects, the woman was denied an abortion, which she was legally entitled to. The head of the hospital, Bogdan Chazan, refused to perform the procedure, invoking the so-called clause of conscience. Polish law allows for such situations on the condition that the patient will be directed to another doctor who can perform the denied procedure; furthermore, the clause only applies if there is no immediate risk to a patient’s life. As the Minister of Health pointed out, the clause of conscience is not meant to be used by an entire medical facility, as was the case with the fined hospital. He added that when Chazan failed to inform the pregnant woman about her options, letting his religious convictions interfere with performing his duties, he broke the law; consequently, the local prosecutor’s office and other appropriate institutions will be notified.

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