March 21, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Physicians at Holy Family Hospital in Warsaw, Poland, left a child to die after a botched abortion earlier this month, according to local media.
As Republika Television reports, the baby was born March 7, 2016 at the 24th week of gestational age and cried and screamed for an hour before dying. According to witnesses, the baby's cry is impossible to forget. Nonetheless, medical personnel did not try to help the child in any way.
Hospital spokesperson Dorota Jasłowska-Niemyska explained that a patient at the end of the 23rd week of pregnancy came to the hospital, and her medical tests suggested that the baby had Down syndrome. The hospital claims that everything that happened thereafter was according to the law and medical procedures. The dignity of the patient and the dignity of the fetus were respected, she continued.
When asked by a reporter of Salve TV about the dignity of a child that had been born alive, Jasłowska-Niemyska said: “Those are details which I can't talk about. It is confidential, and I am not allowed to comment on the details of this procedure.”
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According to Polish law, abortion is illegal except in certain circumstances. First, when the woman's life or health is endangered, there are no legal limits as to the time when it can be performed. Second, when the pregnancy is a result of a criminal act, abortion is permitted until the 12th week. Finally, abortion is legal when a doctor believes that the baby has a severe and irreversible handicap or an incurable and life-threatening disease. In such situations, the procedure is legal until the baby is viable. However, viability is not precisely defined, but there seems to be general consensus that after 24 weeks the abortion should be considered illegal. Also, there is disagreement as to whether Down syndrome is a condition that makes abortion legal.
The legal status of Polish abortion is one of the reasons why the justice system needs to deal with it. As of now, several voices have urged the Warsaw prosecutor to charge the hospital with criminal conduct. One of these is a Catholic priest, Ryszard Halwa, from the anti-abortion group SOS Foundation to Save Unborn Children (Fundacja SOS Obrony Poczętego Życia).
Not all of these voices come from conservative Catholics. One of them is former rapper-turned-politician Piotr Liroy-Marzec, from the group Kukiz'15. Liroy-Marzec is generally associated with the left-wing ideas, such as his fight to legalize marijuana, and his video clips were considered pornographic.
The conservative portal Pch24 also generated a petition for public prosecutor General Zbigniew Ziobro, who has oversight of all investigators in Poland, to make sure that the investigation will be swift and thorough.
According to Bartosz Lewandowski, a lawyer from Ordo Iuris Institute, medical personnel can face criminal charges for not helping a child whose life is in danger. Medical personnel could even be charged with homicide. During an interview with Salve TV, he mentioned that the Polish Doctors Code of Ethics clearly states that an unborn child is a patient, and that doctors are obligated to help. It does not matter that the mother does not want the child to live. According to the Polish Criminal Code, the newborn baby was a “child” (article 148 section 1 Criminal Code) protected by legal norms, Lewandowski concluded.
Holy Family Hospital was known as one of the best medical facilities in Poland, and one that does not conduct abortions. It was once led by the famous gynecologist Dr. Bogdan Chazen, who had lost his job for refusing an abortion.
Another case of a 22-week baby born alive after a failed abortion took place in Poland almost exactly two years ago. In mid-February 2014, Polish media reported in shock and disbelief about a baby girl born in the Provincial Specialist Hospital (Wojewódzki Szpital Specjalistyczny) in Wrocław. In that case, the doctors were called and helped the baby. Unfortunately, she died within two weeks due to her forced premature birth and resulting problems. This child had Down syndrome.
Kaja Godek, a pro-life activist, said of the 2014 case, “The Polish socialized health care system is bound and determined to exterminate children with Down syndrome before they are born.”