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Memorial for Polish abortion law victims held in Castlegate

Updated: Feb 28, 2022

The memorial was held in tribute to the lives affected by Poland’s restrictive abortion laws.

by Tane Moorhouse

Courtesy of Aaedan Brennan

The demonstration on Castle Street came in response to the recent death of Izabela, a 30 year old pregnant woman in Poland. Izabela died of sepsis at Pszczyna hospital in September while suffering from congenital malformations during her 22nd week of pregnancy.

Prior to 2020, abortion was only considered legal under the specific circumstances of incest, rape, if pregnancies endangered the life of the person or on the grounds of foetal deformities.

However, last year these conditions were further limited when foetal deformities were deemed unconstitutional by the Polish Constitutional Court.

Pro-abortion advocates have blamed the introduction of these further restrictive policies for causing both legal confusion and fear amongst medical staff regarding whether to prioritise health of individuals or that of foetuses.

In their interview with the Gaudie, organiser and speaker of the demonstration, Zuzanna Piekarska stated that:

“because of how the law was phrased […][doctors] thought it would be [legally] safer for them to wait for the death of the foetus”.

Courtesy of Aaedan Brennan

As previously reported by the Gaudie, Aberdeen played host to a protest against Poland’s abortion law reforms in 2020.

Yet importantly, Piekarska was keen to stress that last Thursday’s gathering “was not a protest” but rather “a memorial”.

As such, according to its organisers, the commemorative service went beyond the specific tragedy of Izabela.

The event paid tribute to other victims of Poland’s abortion laws such as Agata Lamczak who died in 2004.

The gathering also included a minute silence for those affected, a moment that was given extra poignancy due to it coinciding with both Remembrance Day and Poland’s National Independence Day.


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