Compensation for Polish teen rape victim denied abortion

A teenager who was denied an abortion after she was raped will get compensation after a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights.

The 14-year-old was attacked in 2008, but medics in Lublin refused her an abortion. She later managed to get the procedure carried out in Gdańsk, but only after an appeal to the Ministry of Health. The court in Strasbourg ruled that her human rights had been breached by Poland, because she was denied access to legal abortion.  The court also said that the girl and her mother had the right to privacy, which had also been breached when they tried to get the abortion in Warsaw but was subjected to intense media scrutiny.

She will receive 125,000zł. Her mother will get 62,500zł, and Poland must also pay the legal costs.

Judges in Strasbourg found that: “The applicants had been given misleading and contradictory information and had not received objective medical counselling; and, the fact that access to abortion was a subject of heated debate in Poland did not absolve the medical staff from their professional obligations regarding medical secrecy.”

Abortion is illegal in Poland except in specific cases. Pregnancy resulting from rape is one such case.

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