Doctors Let Woman Die Rather Than Harm Her FetusS

A Polish woman died because doctors kept refusing to treat her colon condition. The reason: they were worried she might miscarry.

Brittany Shoot of Change.org's Women's Rights blog tells the tragic story of Edyta, who was turned away by successive doctors to each refused to explain the real reason for the decision — "that treating the disease could result in a miscarriage or could force an abortion." Deprived of this information, Edyta couldn't find a doctor whose morals matched up with her needs, and this mismatch ended up being fatal. A resolution that would have established guidelines to help stop further tragedies like this came before the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe this week, but it failed. Writes Shoot,

The text of the final document now states that "no person and no hospital or institution shall be coerced, held liable or discriminated against in any manner because of a refusal to perform, accommodate, assist or submit to an abortion." In other words, want to object to an abortion on any grounds? Fine by us.

In a way, the death of Edyta dwarfs the smaller injustices many American women have faced — the inability to get the morning-after pill because a pharmacist doesn't believe in it, or a doctor's unwillingness to prescribe antibiotics "in case" a patient is pregnant. But in another way, it shows what can happen when a woman's health takes a backseat to other people's principles. It also reveals that reproductive freedom isn't some kind of luxury — it can be a matter of life or death.

Polish Woman Dies When Doctors Refuse Treatment, Fearing For Fetal Life [Change.org, Women's Rights Blog]

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