Anti-Abortion Doctor Fired
August 1, 2014
Prof. Bogdan Chazan, a gynecologist who recently became the central figure in a heated pro-life vs. pro-choice dispute, was dismissed as the director of the Holy Family Hospital in Warsaw June 21.
Warsaw Mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz fired Chazan after the media revealed that, citing a “conflict of conscience,” Chazan had refused to perform an abortion on a patient despite clear medical indications.
The patient had requested an abortion after the child she was carrying was diagnosed with severe health problems, including deformities of the head and face.
Under Polish law, a doctor who refuses to perform an abortion in such cases must refer the patient to another doctor or a medical establishment where she can have the pregnancy terminated.
Chazan did not do that. He said that doing so would have made him an “accessory to an abortion.”
The baby, which was missing part of its head, died shortly after birth.
Prosecutors are conducting an investigation into what they say may have been a case of “exposing a patient to a situation in which their life or state of health was directly at risk.”
The National Health Fund, the institution in charge of transferring government funds to hospitals and other public health centers in Poland, has imposed a fine of zl.70,000 on the hospital.
Meanwhile, the patient has said she will bring a civil lawsuit against Chazan and claim damages. Chazan argues his punishment is undeserved. “It is disproportionate to my so-called guilt,” he said, adding he would appeal to a labor court.
Chazan has been backed by Roman Catholic Church bishops, who in a special statement voiced outrage at Chazan’s dismissal. The statement quotes the late Polish-born Pope John II, who described abortion as “taking the life of an innocent human being.”
Catholic Church officials have also accused the media and politicians of “ignoring the teachings of the Church.”
Abortion in Poland is illegal barring exceptional circumstances such as serious abnormality of the fetus and pregnancy posing a risk to the mother’s life.