In Poland, the parliamentary opposition denounced, Monday, June 6, a government provision obliging general practitioners to register pregnancies in a digital medical register, which could provide, according to it, “a new tool of repression” against women, in a country where abortion is practically forbidden.
By virtue of a decree from the Minister of Health, Adam Niedzielski, information concerning pregnancy must appear in this register alongside information on past or current illnesses, medical visits, treatments or even blood type. According to the ministry, such information will enable any doctor to help patients.
Conversely, Liberal MP Kamila Gasiuk-Pihowicz told the press that this register was born “to be able to persecute and control Polish women, to create a new tool of repression, (…) of political influence of the state on our lives, on our health.
“Interfere in women’s lives”
“In another era, the transfer of such information into the system would not have caused concern, but in the current situation, it is for us an unequivocal signal of a new attempt by the State to interfere in the lives of women, “said Joanna Pietrusiewicz, the president of a foundation defending women’s rights, quoted by the daily Gazeta Wyborcza.
In addition to medical personnel, access to the digital medical register can be obtained by the prosecution – currently controlled by the nationalist populists in power – by court order, in this country where violations of the rule of law have been noted on several occasions by European authorities.
According to MP Katarzyna Lubnauer, “for six years, slice by slice, women’s reproductive rights have been curtailed” in Poland. “First, we introduce emergency contraception on prescription (…), then in vitro fertilization is no longer financed by the state budget, (…) then comes this brutal verdict of the Constitutional Court”, which banned, in October 2020, abortion in the event of a serious malformation of the fetus. Under the law, a woman who performed a voluntary termination of pregnancy is not prosecuted, unlike the doctor who performed it or the people who helped her.
Poland, a predominantly Catholic country, has one of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe. Today, there are less than two thousand legal abortions a year in the country, according to official data. Feminist organizations also estimate that around 200,000 abortions are performed illegally or abroad each year.