WARSAW (ChurchMilitant.com) - A Polish doctor, persecuted by the government for refusing to abort a baby suffering from a congenital birth defect, is speaking to Church Militant about his ordeal.
By the time Dr. Bogdan Chazan started making headlines in 2014, he was a renowned Polish obstetrician/gynecologist, having worked with the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations (UN), the Council of Europe and the Polish Ministry of Health. He was an outspoken pro-life advocate and director of Holy Family Hospital in Warsaw.
In July 2014, he refused to perform an abortion on a deformed baby. He further refused to refer the woman to an abortionist — allegedly violating the law. Although Poland has the most pro-life abortion laws in Europe, it decriminalizes abortion in cases of rape, to preserve the life of the mother or if the baby is severely malformed.
In this case, the mother had been receiving treatment at a fertility clinic. She went to Chazan at Holy Family when it was discovered the baby had severe birth defects, demanding that he abort the baby. Chazan refused. Even though Polish law allows doctors to refrain from performing medical procedures for reasons of conscience, it requires they recommend another physician willing to perform the procedure. This is where officials claim Chazan broke the law.
Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, the mayor of Warsaw, fined him $23,000 and dismissed him from his position as director of Holy Family. He was happy to pay the fine, considering it "a ransom for the life of the child."
In an exclusive interview with Church Militant, he explained, "I said 'no' to the abortion as a human being, as a doctor and as director of the hospital. So many at the time said I caused harm to the child because it was dying in pain and the parents were overwhelmed."
He believes he would have been partially responsible for "the suffering that would come with the abortion, such as post-abortion syndrome in the parents a few years down the road."
In the end he decided, "[T]here is a higher law, and I wanted to be subordinate to morality and ethics, rather than directives and legal proceedings. And I suffered the consequences."
Bishop Henryk Hoser of the Warsaw-Praga diocese called Chazan's treatment "ethically unacceptable, unjustified, out of proportion, unjust, absurd and legally doubtful."
He is currently enmeshed in a lawsuit with the woman, who is suing him for $1 million for pain and suffering.
He notes, "I don't want to judge her feelings or intent, I don't have the right to do that. On the other hand, she does seem determined, on the level of facts, to relieve me of my profession and take it from me."
He added, "If the medical professional court goes back to the case, and I get a negative verdict, I will have to come up with this money."
Chazan told Church Militant how feminists are attempting to pressure the medical board to take his license away.
He noted, however, that "there are thousands of pro-lifers who are fighting to keep that license in my hands. It's a push and shove thing, and we'll see what happens."