Outrage in Poland over new 'pregnancy register' on the back of near-total abortion ban

·2-min read
Outrage in Poland over new 'pregnancy register' on the back of near-total abortion ban

Poland's government is facing criticism over a new provision that requires doctors to record each pregnancy in the country.

Opposition MPs have labelled the medical data list as a "pregnancy register" and an infringement of women's rights.

Poland has placed a near-total ban on abortion and activists are concerned that women will face unprecedented surveillance from the ruling conservative party.

Under the order by Health Minister Adam Niedzielski, doctors must now record information about pregnancies, including any past or current illnesses, medical visits, treatments and blood type.

The Polish government says the public health data followed EU recommendations and will allow medical workers to help patients both in Poland and abroad.

But opposition lawmakers say this register could be a "new tool of repression" against women that was aimed to detect possible illegal abortions. The register can also be accessed by the Polish prosecutor's office, subject to a court ruling.

Liberal MP Kamila Gasiuk-Pihowicz told reporters that the data list could "persecute and control Polish women".

The government register was also denounced by Poland's opposition leader and former EU Council President Donald Tusk.

"Polish women need care, not control," Tusk said during a press conference in Biestrzyki on Monday.

“A pregnancy registry in a country with an almost complete ban on abortion is terrifying,” added Agnieszka Dziemianowicz-Bąk, a left-wing MP.

The new measure could see many Polish women seek private treatment or travel abroad, even for prenatal care.

Under a strict 2020 legal reform, Polish women can only seek an abortion if there is a serious risk to the mother's health or if the pregnancy results from rape or incest.

In recent months, at least two women have died in Polish hospitals after doctors delayed the removal of their foetus, even when it had been diagnosed with severe illness.

Government plans to report pregnant women who were seen drinking or smoking were withdrawn after widespread demonstrations.

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