Firing Health Professionals Who Refuse to Abort Babies Is Watershed Moment for Europe

Poland, Scotland, Sweden See Violation of Human Rights

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By Roger Kiska of Alliance Defending Freedom

Dr. Bogdan Chazan, preeminent in his field and recognized throughout Poland for his medical expertise, was recently fined and fired from his position as director of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department at the Holy Family Hospital in Warsaw, Poland, for refusing to perform an abortion on a child diagnosed with potentially severe brain damage.

Chazan, also a professor at Warsaw University Medical School and a former national consultant in obstetrics and gynecology, is a devout Roman Catholic who believes that abortion is the intentional killing of an innocent human child.

Dr. Chazan’s medical record is beyond reproach. He earned his first medical degree 40 years ago, and since 1998, has served as department head of the OB/GYN ward of one of Poland’s most important hospitals. Despite Chazan’s impressive pedigree, Mayor of Warsaw Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz demanded his contract with the hospital be nullified because he refused to perform the life-ending procedure on the child.

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 Chazan’s human rights will be unjustly usurped in favor 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 specializes in international litigation with a focus on European law.

Alliance Defending Freedom is an international, alliance-building legal organization that advocates for religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and marriage and the family in numerous courts and consultative bodies worldwide.

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