Three doctors charged in death of pregnant woman in Poland

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(AP photo)

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Prosecutors in southern Poland said Thursday that they have charged three doctors in connection with the death last year of a 30-year-old pregnant woman.

Agnieszka Wichary, spokesperson for the prosecutors’ office in Katowice, said the charges were of exposing the patient to the danger of loss of life.

“As a result of the team’s activity and the failure to act, the patient has died,” Wichary’s statement said.

Two of the doctors also were charged with unintentionally causing the patient’s death. If convicted, they could face up to five years in prison.

The death from sepsis last September of the woman know as Iza at the hospital in Pszczyna in her 22nd week of pregnancy led to massive protests against Poland’s restrictive anti-abortion law.

Activists blamed the doctors’ choice to “wait and see” rather than immediately carry out an abortion on the country’s near-ban on abortion and said she was the first to die from the further tightening of the restrictive law. The woman left behind a husband and a daughter.

It was not immediately known when an indictment could be sent to court.

Poland, a mostly Catholic country, passed a strict law in 1993 that banned abortions except in three cases: if the pregnancy results from rape or incest; if the woman’s life or health is at risk; or if the fetus had congenital deformities. But the Constitutional Tribunal, under the influence of Poland’s conservative ruling party, ruled last year that abortions for congenital defects were not constitutional.

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