STATEMENT ON THE EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS’ JUDGMENT IN THE CASE R.R. v. Poland

 

The Federation for Women and Family Planning expresses a great satisfaction with landmark judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasburg in the case R.R. v. Poland,which states that Poland has violated the articles of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Federation is even more pleased as the R.R. case was conducted by our organization in cooperation with the Warsaw University Law Clinic, supported by the Center for Reproductive Rights. Att. Monika Gąsiorowska and Irmina Kotkiuk, who conducted the case at the Court, are members of the Federation’s Network of Lawyers.

 

The Court stated that the human rights resulting from the articles 3 and 8 of the Convention were violated by the Polish State in the case of pregnant woman who could not exercise her right to the prenatal diagnostic tests which might have confirmed or denied a previous diagnosis of a presence of  severe genetic abnormality of a foetus.

 

Following the judicature consolidated in the previous judgments the Court stated that the woman’s right to respect for private and family life (article 8 of the Convention) was violated because she had been denied reliable information about a condition of her foetus and had been prevented from deciding whether or not continue a pregnancy. Consequently, the Polish State did not provided the woman with a possibility to exercise the patient’s fundamental right to information. Furthermore, the Court stated that the Polish State does not provide an effective mechanism for exercising this right.

 

The Federation is also greatly satisfied with a fact that the Court acknowledged that the article 3 of the Convention considering prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment was violated in this case. It is for the first time in a history that the Court passed such a judgment in the case considering the reproductive rights. The Court stated that a medical treatment the woman had experienced exceeded the limits acceptable by the Convention.  The woman had suffered for many weeks what according to the Court exceeds a minimum threshold of pain acceptable on a ground of the article 3. It means that a way the doctors looked after the women was an inhuman and degrading treatment.

 

The Federation is pleased that the Court awarded the woman a record-breaking 45 000 EURO compensation. The Court acknowledged that the woman’s torment and suffering caused by a lack of knowledge about her situation together with a great humiliation she had suffered at the doctors’ hands as well as the other circumstances of the case justify the compensation’s amount.

 

We consider the Court’s judgment in the R.R. case as a great success in our fight for respecting the women’s reproductive rights in Poland.

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