Pro-Life campaigners picketed a Kraków hospital which carries out legal abortions, comparing its actions to the Holocaust.
Banners and leaflets bearing graphic images of bloodied, post-abortion foetuses and slogans such as ‘Prawdziwy Holocaust’ (The real Holocaust) and ‘Aborterzy zabijają dzieci z zespołem downa’ (Abortionists kill children with Down’s Syndrome) were displayed outside Szpital im. Rydygiera in Kraków on February 15. A similar campaign was launched in the grounds of Kraków’s St. Peter and Paul church on ulica Grodzka, the following day.
Campaigners say they will return to the hospital, in support of a doctor and three anaesthetists who have invoked a ‘conscience clause’ allowing them to refuse to take part in any termination of pregnancy, on moral grounds.
Doctors who invoke the clause are required to direct patients, in writing, to a colleague who will carry out the operation – but one at the Nowa Huta hospital did not do this. In the case of the anaesthetists, the hospital fears that a situation may arise in which one of more of them is on duty when an emergency abortion is needed.
The doctor at the Rydygiera hospital who did not direct a patient to another surgeon is still working at the hospital – and management there say there is no question that he would come under any pressure to leave or be subject to harassment. But hospital bosses now say they have to draw up a water-tight plan to bring in back-up anaesthetists in case of an emergency.
The hospital performs about ten abortions each year. The procedure is only legally available in Poland to women whose unborn child is seriously ill, when her health is at risk, or when the pregnancy is the result of a crime. There is no law preventing Polish women from traveling to other European countries where abortion on demand is freely available.
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