STRASBOURG, June 17, 2005 ( – A Polish woman who claims her health was in jeopardy because of a pregnancy has taken her case to the European Union’s court of human rights.

In 2002, Alicja Tysiac, a 34 year mother of three, was pregnant with her third child. She claims that doctors had warned her not to become pregnant because of an unspecified condition that could have left her blind. In Poland, it is legal for a woman to procure an abortion if the pregnancy poses a risk to the mother’s health. Tysiac claims her gynaecologist destroyed her referral to an abortion clinic, denying that her health was in danger.

According to a translation of the Polish news at, Tysiac, although not blind, suffered deterioration in her condition because of the pregnancy. Now she claims she cannot afford the corrective lenses and she is classified as “first disability group” and unable to work to support her family.

The European Court for Human rights in Strasbourg expects a rebuttal from Polish officials by month’s end; the court plans to release a decision within a year. The UK’s so-called human rights NGO Interights has decided to take Tysiac’s case. Interights spokesman Andrea Coomer said, “We’re taking the case because we think it demonstrates a number of violations of the European Convention” on Human Rights, according to a report.

Tysiac’s suit claims Poland violated her right for privacy and family life (article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights), her right to just appellation (article 13 of the Convention) as well as the equal treatment rule (article 14 of the Convention).

Jasec Volasevic, from the legal department for the Polish Ministry of Legal Affairs said that there are three issues at stake – the legal, the political, and the moral. Volasevic emphasized that the “violation of the right to life” of the unborn would not be a part of the legal discussions at the European court – only the legal ramifications of the case would be taken into consideration, with no regard for the moral question.

The UN Human Rights Committee, at the conclusion of a review of Poland’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in October, demanded that the mostly-Catholic nation “liberalize” its abortion laws and thereby allow the killing of pre-born children.

See related coverage:
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