A Catholic magazine has been ordered to pay $11,000 (about 46,000 złoty) to a Polish woman it called a child killer. The reason? The woman had wanted an abortion, which was advised to her by her doctor.
When Alicja Tysiąc, now 38, became pregnant, her doctors warned that she could go blind if she were to have the baby. However, because of the strict anti-abortion laws in effect in Poland, she was denied the procedure, and her eyesight deteriorated. In a court case that concluded in 2007, the European Court of Human Rights awarded her $33,000 in damages when it ruled that her human rights had been violated when the abortion was denied.
However, the matter was not settled then. After the ruling, the Catholic magazine Gosc Niedzielny (“Sunday Guest”) wrote that the compensation was a reward for Ms. Tysiąc wanting to kill her child. The controversial article compared those who sought abortions to Nazi war criminals, likening the act of performing an abortion to the medical experiments the Nazis performed in Auschwitz. The court in Katowice determined that the article’s author had shown “contempt, hostility and malice” towards Ms. Tysiąc, and it would have to pay the woman an equivalent of 7,400 euro in damages. According to the judge, while the magazine has the right to express disapproval of abortion and even call it murder, it is not allowed to vilify individuals.
However, the magazine’s editor-in-chief, Father Marek Gancarczyk, has stated that he will try to fight the verdict in a court of appeals, using the principle of freedom of speech as his defence.