Human rights judges have ruled today that a teenage girl, raped in Poland, should have been given unhindered access to abortion.
In a Chamber judgment in the case of P. and S. v. Poland (application no. 57375/08), which is not final, the European Court of Human Rights held that there had been:
Two violations of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights, as regards the determination of access to lawful abortion in respect of both applicants (by six votes to one) and as regards the disclosure of the applicants’ personal data (unanimously).
It further held, unanimously, that there had been:
A violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) in respect of P., and a violation of Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) in respect of P.
The case concerned the difficulties encountered by a teenage girl, who had become pregnant as a result of rape, in obtaining access to an abortion, in particular due to the lack of a clear legal framework, procrastination of medical staff and also as a result of harassment.
The Court held in particular that: the applicants had been given misleading and contradictory information and had not received objective medical counselling; and, the fact that access to abortion was a subject of heated debate in Poland did not absolve the medical staff from their professional obligations regarding medical secrecy.