"Polish women need care, not control". Health minister signs controversial "pregnancy register" ordinance

TVN24 News in English, PAP
Kamila Ferenc o "rejestrze ciąż": powinniśmy zachować czujność
Kamila Ferenc o "rejestrze ciąż": powinniśmy zachować czujnośćTVN24
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TVN24Attorney Kamila Ferenc warns against collecting sensitive data

Poland's Health Minister Adam Niedzielski signed an ordinance on Friday expanding the catalogue of information collected by medical personnel regarding patients by allergies, blood type and pregnancy among other things. The said change has been raising controversy for some time now, with the opposition and some NGOs sounding the alarm in fear that the government's aim is to introduce a "pregnancy register". "We're not creating any registers, but only extending the system of reporting based on European Commission recommendations. Only medics will have access to the data," Health Ministry spokesman Wojciech Andrusiewicz assured. Civic Platform chairman Donald Tusk stressed on Monday that "Polish women need care, not control".

According to the ministry of health, the main aim of the ordinance signed by minister Niedzielski is to specify the amount of medical information about patients that is collected in the system and the rules of its transfer.

The ministry argues that the change will improve access to and transparency of information stored in the Medical Information System (SIM), which in turn is to improve workflow and decrease the costs.

The data collected in SIM is to include information regarding allergies, implants, blood type, ICF code, as well as pregnancy.

Health Ministry spokesman Wojciech Andrusiewicz told TVN24 on Monday that "nobody is creating any pregnancy register in Poland".

"If we're talking about pregancy termination, which is allowed in Poland in at least two cases, if such surgery is needed, then it will be recorded as well. And who will later have access to it depends only on the woman," he added.

"Pregnancy register in a country with a near-total ban on abortion is terrifying" - the Left party MP Agnieszka Dziemianowicz-Bąk said in a tweet. "Polish women don't want get pregnant already in fear of being forced to give birth in all situations. Now they have even more reasons to fear," she added.

Kamila Ferenc, a lawyer working from the Foundation for Women and Family Planning FEDERA, told TVN24 that "whenever it's about collecting sensitive data, alarm bells should be ringing".

"Collecting this kind of information always temps to use it against the citizens, in the interest of the government which doesn't always coincide with the interest of the people," she added.

"We shall find out in practice if it's actually going to happen. We should keep alert," Ferenc said.

Poland's former prime minister and current chairman of the opposition Civic Platform party, Donald Tusk, on Monday called the situation "unacceptable". "This pregnancy register was supposed to help pregnant women, future mothers, in organising medical care. Today, we're dealing with an attempt to register in order to control," he argued.

"I wish that those people who came up with it and are running it, (...) understood that Polish women are free people, enjoying full rights, who do not require control. I sometimes think that such ideas are born in the minds of male politicians who have serious problems," he added.

Civic Platform chief stressed that "Polish women today need care, full access to doctors, and not a prosecutor controlling the pregnancy process".

In Poland a nearly-full ban on abortion is in place, with the exception of situations in which a woman's life or health is at risk or when the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest.

In 2020, the Constitutional Tribunal ruled that termination of pregnancy due to foetal defects was no longer legal. The decision sparked mass protests in the streets of major cities across the country.


Źródło: TVN24 News in English, PAP

Źródło zdjęcia głównego: Shutterstock

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