Poland faces outrage on decision to record pregnancy data

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Poland, where abortion is banned, faced accusations of creating a “pregnancy register” as the country seeks to expand the amount of medical data being digitally saved on patients.

The decision is opposed by the women’s rights advocates and the opposition politicians. They took the plea that women may face unprecedented surveillance given the conservative views of a ruling party that has already tightened what was one of Europe’s most restrictive abortion laws.

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They fear police and prosecutors could use the new data against women whose pregnancies end, even in cases of miscarriage, or that the state could track women if they order abortion pills or travel abroad for an abortion.

On Monday, the matter got much limelight after Health Minister Adam Niedzielski signed an ordinance on Friday. The patient information regarding the complications they face during the pregnancies will be noted in a central database on patients, including information on allergies, blood type and pregnancies.

Wojciech Andrusiewicz, the health ministry spokesman, said only medical professionals would have access to the pregnancy data and that the changes are being made at the recommendation of the European Union.

He added that the government’s decision is framed to improve patients’ medical treatment if they seek treatment elsewhere in the EU member states. In the case of pregnant women, he said this would help doctors immediately know which women should not get X-rays or certain medicines.

But Marta Lempart, the leader of a women’s rights group, Women’s Strike, said she does not trust the government to keep information on women’s pregnancies from the police and prosecutors.

She added that police in Poland are already questioning women on how their pregnancies end, tipped off by disgruntled partners.

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“Being pregnant means that police can come to you any time, and prosecutors can come to you to ask you questions about your pregnancy,” Lempart said.

 

 

 

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