Polish Catholic Paper Punished for Abortion View

Loses Appeal in What’s Seen as Freedom of Speech Battle

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ROME, MARCH 9, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The Catholic weekly published by the Archdiocese of Katovice has lost an appeal and is being obliged to pay compensation and apologize to a woman who has become a symbolic figure for the pro-abortion campaign in Poland.

A statement from the “Gosc Niedzielny” reacted to the Friday decision confirming that “we consider this sentence unjust and limiting of the freedom of speech. Once again ‘Gosc Niedzielny’ must ask for pardon for words it has never written.”

The newspaper said the appeals court decision is a “dangerous precedent” by which courts can interpret the context and general message of newspaper articles.
“This implies not only a serious limitation of the freedom of speech, but also a serious limitation of the right of Catholics to take part in the public debate,” it added.

The case regards the situation of Alicja Tysiac, a mother of three who sought to abort her third child on the grounds that the pregnancy affected her eyesight.

In Poland, abortion is illegal except for cases in which the mother’s life is in danger, the baby is seriously malformed, or the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest.

Tysiac was unable to get approval to abort her child (who was born in 2000) and took the case to the European Court of Human Rights. The court found in her favor in 2007, obliging the Polish government to pay €25,000 (now about $34,000) in damages.

This led the “Gosc Niedzielny” to lament that “we are living in a world where a mother is granted an award for the fact that she very much wanted to kill her child, but was forbidden to do so.”

The editorial also compares abortion to the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps.

Monsignor Jozef Kloch, spokesman of the Polish episcopate, commented on the appeals court ruling, saying: “This verdict makes us see how the pro-abortion lobby intends to stealthily introduce in Poland abortion by request.”

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