Polish Woman Denied Abortion Takes Case to European Court
A Polish woman who suffered severe health consequences after being denied an abortion is taking her case before the European Court of Human Rights. Alicja Tysiac sought an abortion after three ophthalmologists predicted that carrying her child to term would likely further damage her failing eyesight. But the same three specialists, as well as a gynecologist, refused to authorize an abortion. When she gave birth, Tysiac's eye condition worsened dramatically as a result of retinal hemorrhage. Tysiac, a single mother to her three children, can now see no more than 12 feet in front of her.
Under the Catholic Church-sponsored Anti-Abortion Act of 1993, abortion in Poland is restricted to circumstances of rape or incest, severe birth defects evident in the fetus, or threat to the mother's life. However, the lack of specific medical criteria for making these determinations causes doctors to be reluctant to grant abortion certificates, according to the Polish Federation for Women and Family Planning. The Federation estimates that only 150-200 abortions are performed legally each year, compared to 180,000 annually before 1993.
Many doctors surveyed by the Federation refuse to perform an abortion even with certification that the woman was raped. Because of these obstacles, some women who qualify for a legal abortion in Poland often choose to have the procedure done illegally at a private clinic or leave the country to find abortion services.
Media Resources: BBC 2/7/06; Jurist 2/8/06; Polish Federation for Women and Family Planning 2000 Report: "The Anti-Abortion Law in Poland"; Reuters 2/7/06;
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10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
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