By Roger Kiska, of Alliance Defending Freedom
A DOCTOR in Poland was recently fined and sacked from his position as director of the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department at the Holy Family Hospital, Warsaw, for refusing to perform an abortion on a child diagnosed with potentially severe brain damage.
Dr Bogdan Chazan is pre-eminent in his field and recognised throughout Poland for his medical expertise.
Dr Chazan, also a professor at Warsaw University Medical School and a former national consultant in obstetrics and gynaecology, is a devout Roman Catholic who believes abortion is the intentional killing of an innocent child.
The doctor earned his first medical degree 40 years ago, and since 1998 has served as department head of the obstetrics and gynaecology ward of one of Poland’s most important hospitals.
Warsaw mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz demanded Dr Chazan’s contract with the hospital be nullified because he refused to perform the life-ending procedure on the child.
Dr Chazan’s case comes on the heels of two other prominent European cases involving two Scottish nurses Concepta Ward and Mary Teresa Doogan, and Swedish midwife Ellinor Grimmark, who were fired from their jobs for refusing to assist in abortions.
The cases jointly mark a watershed moment in European history and human rights law.
Following the horrors of World War II, Europe collectively adopted the European Convention of Human Rights to wrestle away state tyranny and so Europeans could enjoy freedom of religion and rights of conscience.
International jurisprudence and treaty law on this issue have been clear and unwavering, with the vast majority of European nations allowing for conscience objections for sincerely held moral and religious beliefs.
As legal proceedings ensue, Poland will determine if Dr Chazan’s human rights will be unjustly usurped in favour of a radical ideology that heralds the destruction of life.
The rule of law asserts that no one should be forced to go against his conscience or choose between his job and his sincerely held religious beliefs. This basic human right must be affirmed.
Roger Kiska serves as legal counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom and is based in Vienna, Austria, where he specialises in international litigation with a focus on European law.
Alliance Defending Freedom is an international, alliance-building legal organisation that advocates for religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and marriage and the family in numerous courts and consultative bodies worldwide.