Activists accuse Polish government of murder over death of woman, 37, pregnant with twins who was forced to carry a dead foetus in her womb for a week due to new abortion laws
- Agnieszka T, pregnant with twins, died in hospital four weeks after being denied an abortion
- The 37-year-old carried a dead foetus in her womb for a week until the second foetus died
- An abortion was finally performed nine days after the death of the first foetus
- Protests have broken out in Poland over harsh new abortion laws which campaigners say are responsible for Agnieszka’s death
Protestor groups have accused the Polish government of murder following the death of a woman who was forced to carry a dead foetus in her womb for over a week due to draconian new abortion laws.
The 37-year-old mother-of-three, known only as Agnieszka T, was pregnant with twins, but doctors at the Blessed Virgin Mary hospital in Częstochowa, southern Poland, refused an abortion when she lost one of them within the first trimester, her family said in a statement.
She presented at the hospital on December 21 with abdominal pain and vomiting, according to the family, and the first foetus died in the womb on December 23.
Doctors refused to remove it, operating under new legislation which does not penalise the patient but could see the medical personnel ordering and carrying out an abortion sent to prison.
The woman, known as Agnieszka T, presented in hospital on December 21 last year. She was pregnant with twins and one of the foetuses died on December 23. An abortion was not carried out until December 31, a full nine days later.
A woman holds a banner that says ‘I fear to live in such a country’ during a protest in front of the Law and Justice party office on January 26, 2022 in Krakow, Poland.
A woman wears a protective face mask and lights a candle next to the photograph of the deceased woman during a protest in front of the Law and Justice party office.
Campaign groups protest outside of the Law and Justice party office in Krakow after the death of Agnieszka T
Agnieszka carried the dead foetus along side the living one for seven days until the heartbeat of the second one stopped on December 29, and doctors waited a further two days before ending the pregnancy, by which time the patient’s health had started to deteriorate.
She died on January 25 from what the family believe to be sepsis, although the hospital has not given an official cause of death.
The family claim that doctors insinuated that she died of BSE, also known as ‘mad cow disease’, which she had caught from eating raw meat.
‘This is proof of the fact that the current government has blood on their hands,’ the woman’s family said on Facebook. ‘Through all these nine days, the decaying bodies of her unborn children were left inside her.’
‘Who is responsible for this crime? The hospital? The Constitutional Court? MPs voting for the anti-abortion act in Poland?’
‘Her husband begged the doctors to save his wife, even at the cost of the pregnancy,’ Agnieszka’s twin sister, Wioletta Paciepnik, said.
The hospital has denied the abortion law influenced the decisions of medical staff, saying in a statement: “The doctor’s actions had not been influenced by anything else apart from medical reasons and the care for the patient and her children.”
All abortions except in extreme circumstances such as incest, rape and when the health of the woman is in danger are now illegal in Poland, causing doctors to take what campaign groups call a ‘wait-and-see’ approach with dangerous pregnancies, for fear of being prosecuted.
Protests have been under way across Poland since the death of Agnieszka T, with people laying wreaths and lanterns at her memorial in Warsaw and further protests are planned in her home town of Częstochowa.
‘We took to the streets to protest against people being condemned to death. It can happen to any of us. This time it was Agnieszka who died,’ said Marta Lempart, the leader of the Polish Women’s Strike Movement, the organisation behind the protests.
‘I blame the ruling party for her death. They are the ones who condemned her to death in agony and pain. They are the ones who murdered her.’
Prosecutors have launched an investigation into the death, with police seizing medical records.