A girl known only as "Agata" in the press has been caught in the mire of a choice controversy in Poland. 14-year-old Agata was raped by a schoolmate, and she became pregnant from the single encounter. The Irish Times reports that Agata was "covered in bruises" when she came home from the assault, and after a gynecologist's visit her mother applied for permission for Agata to get an abortion. You see, abortion laws in Poland are extremely restrictive, and though under Polish law, rape victims are allowed abortions, when Agata and her mother showed up at a local hospital in Lublin to go through with the procedure, instead of finding the doctor in her hospital room, she found right-to-life priest Father Krzysztof Podstawka, who heads an organization called "Protection of Life." Agata's gynecologist returned later to say she would not perform the abortion. But Agata's saga doesn't end there.
Her mother contacted the Polish organization Polish Federation For Women And Family Planning, and they arranged for Agata to have an abortion at a private clinic in Warsaw. Somehow, Fr. Podstawka and his band of harassers found out about Agata's new arrangement, and showed up at the hospital. That's when the shit really hit the fan. According to the Polish Federation, "All hell broke loose when abortion opponents appeared at the hospital. – It was a horror – an employee says. They attacked [Agata]. In addition to the priest, there were journalists from Radio Maryja or Trwam Television. And the women from the anti-abortion organizations occupied the office."
It gets worse. The pro-lifers went to the police station after the fracas at the clinic and tried to book Agata's mother on the crime of coercing of a minor to undergo an abortion. And the last indignity: because of this debacle, Agata has been taken away from her mother and placed in emergency foster care.
This is a breach of even the restrictive Polish abortion laws, and this teenager has had to suffer, not only through a rape, but through the cruelty of zealots who care only about their cause, not about actual humans. Agata is still pregnant. She's in her eleventh week. Polish laws state that abortions, even the legal ones that are supposed to be performed after rape or for medical reasons, cannot be performed after week twelve. This is the email for the Polish Federation For Women And Family Planning. Perhaps they can help us figure out how to help Agata.
UPDATE: As I was bleary-eyed when I wrote this at 8, a sharper reader caught this happy ending to the potentially sad story: "Late evening 16 June, the Ministry of Health announced in the TV program that was found the state clinic for Agata where the abortion will be performed. The place and name of the clinic is a top secret. Two days later the Polish Catholic Information Agency informed that 'Agata' with her mother was taken to the clinic on the north of Poland. Early afternoon on June 17 the abortion was performed. Agata with her mother came back home (Lublin). It is unknown who gave the information to the Catholic Agency." Thanks, jetzinberlin!
Abortion Tug-of-war Over Schoolgirl Raped In Poland [Irish Times]
Unprotected and Assaulted: 14 Year Old Raped and Denied Abortion [Reproductive Health Reality Check]
Abortion Refused to a 14-year-old girl in Poland [Polish Federation For Women And Family Planning]