After a new death, demonstrations in Poland against the anti-abortion law

Anger is rising in Poland against the anti-abortion law. Several thousand people demonstrated in Warsaw on Wednesday to denounce a new death of a pregnant woman, for which they blame the text against abortion. Similar demonstrations took place in fifty towns and villages.

Dorota Lalik, 33, died on May 24 in a hospital in Nowy Targ, in the south of the country. She had been admitted there three days before when her waters had just broken. She died of sepsis brought on by the death in her womb of her 20-week-old fetus, according to a statement from her family.

Activist sentenced for assisting in abortion

“The nurses told her to lay her legs over her head to collect the waters,” her husband told the Daily Gazeta Wyborcza. “No one suggested inducing a miscarriage to save Dorota, since the baby’s chances of survival were reduced,” added Marcin Lalik.

The anti-abortion law theoretically allows doctors to perform an abortion if the woman’s life is in danger, but in practice it is so restrictive that doctors are afraid to do so. In March, a Polish activist was sentenced by a Warsaw court to community service for helping with an abortion, an unprecedented case in the country.

“Everything is political when you are a woman in Poland,” lamented one protester, Katarzyna Kotula, a New Left MP. “Especially if you are a pregnant woman,” she added. “Due to political decisions, women are dying in Polish hospitals.”

According to a poll carried out at the beginning of March, 83.7% of Poles are in favor of liberalizing the law on abortion. Only 11.5% of respondents would like to maintain the current legal status. Poland, a country with a Catholic tradition, already had one of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe when the Constitutional Court last year sided with the populist-nationalist government by declaring the termination of pregnancy for “unconstitutional” fetal malformation.

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