Poland: ECHR ruling says pregnant woman’s human rights were violated

Flag of EuropeVia email from Human Rights Watch:

The European Court of Human Rights found on May 26, 2011, that Poland’s failure to ensure that a pregnant woman was given access to available diagnostic services to which she was legally entitled was a violation of human rights.

The case before the Strasbourg-based court, RR v. Poland, was brought by a woman, called RR to protect her privacy, who was repeatedly refused diagnostic care by doctors during her pregnancy. After a routine check detected a likely deformation of the fetus, RR had asked for genetic tests that would provide her with further information on the health of her pregnancy, but they were stalled again and again.

By preventing RR from obtaining full and accurate health information about her pregnancy, Poland essentially denied her access to a legal abortion. The court found that Poland had violated articles 3 (inhuman and degrading treatment) and 8 (privacy and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Polish courts had also found that RR had been wrongfully treated and that the hospitals involved had been negligent.

“The Court said unequivocally that the suffering RR went through was unnecessary, and that as a result she suffered inhuman and degrading treatment,” said Gauri van Gulik, women’s rights advocate and researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Women in Poland and elsewhere have the right to receive full and accurate information about their health, and this includes information about the health of their pregnancy and fetus.”

To read the ruling in full, please visit the European Court of Human Rights website

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