The doctor who refused to abort

 Q&A | Bogdan Chazan lost his post heading a Polish government–run maternity hospital after he said his conscience prevented him from killing an unborn child

World Magazine

Daniel James Devine

Polish media outlets have been abuzz this summer with the story of Bogdan Chazan, a prominent Warsaw doctor who refused to provide a woman with an abortion and was subsequently sacked. . .

. . .The Polish doctor’s troubles began in April, when a pregnant woman wrote to his maternity hospital in Warsaw, the Holy Family Hospital, asking for an abortion. She said her personal physician had detected severe developmental defects in the unborn baby. Chazan, a Roman Catholic who has served as director of the hospital for the past 10 years, wrote back, saying he could not provide an abortion due to a “conflict of conscience.” He provided an address to a hospice that could care for the baby after it was born. [Full text]

Lynched, fined, and dismissed: an interview with Poland’s Dr. Bogdan Chazan

LifeSite News

Natalia Duholm

Earlier this month, Dr. Bogdan Chazan, a renowned pro-life doctor in Poland and head of the gynecology and obstetrics department at Holy Family Hospital, was sacked and fined after he refused to participate in abortion. He spoke with LifeSiteNews about his ordeal. (See bottom for background on his case.)

Dr. Chazan, you were lynched by the media, your hospital was fined, and you were dismissed as hospital director.  Does it often happen that doctors in Poland are punished as severely as you were?

Not very often.  I’d even say very rarely.  Generally, with people like me, things are dealt with in a quiet way.  For example, more often, big corporations do not hire gynecologists who do not prescribe birth control. Nobody openly talks about the use of the “conscientious objection.”  Things are hushed up, with no paper trail.

For instance, I know about a case where a well-known pro-life woman was denied a post-doctoral track.  Recently, one of the candidates for director of the gynecology department at the Medical University was asked if he had signed the Declaration of Faith/Conscience (Editor’s note: This was an open letter signed by thousands of doctors in Poland; among other things, it voiced opposition to abortion.).  He admitted he had, and did not get the job.  Perhaps, there were other circumstances, too, but I don’t know. [Full text]

Poland asks: should a doctor serve God, or patients?


Marcin Goettig and Aneta Pomieczynska

(Reuters) – In April this year, a pregnant woman asked Professor Bogdan Chazan, director of Warsaw’s Holy Family Hospital, for an abortion because her own physician had diagnosed her unborn child with grave health problems.

Chazan sent the woman a letter saying he could not agree to an abortion in his hospital because of a “conflict of conscience,” and instead gave the woman the address of a hospice where, he said, the child could get palliative care once born.

The baby was born at a different hospital with, according to a doctor there, severe head and facial deformities and a brain that was not viable, conditions which the doctor said would result in the child’s death within a month or two. . .

. . . On Wednesday, Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, the mayor of the Polish capital, said she was firing Chazan from the hospital on the grounds that he did not have the right to refuse the abortion and did not inform the woman about the options for getting a termination. [Full text]

The doctors’ declaration of faith

The Economist


THE scene had a melodramatic touch: two stone tablets with an engraved Declaration of Faith by Polish doctors who recognise “the primacy of God’s laws over human laws” in medicine were carried last month to a sanctuary in Częstochowa, in the south of Poland. The gesture was made out of gratitude for the canonisation of the Polish pope, John Paul II. It was the initiative of a physician and personal friend of the late pope, Wanda Półtawska.

The first 3,000 signatories of the declaration thereby announced that they will not violate the Ten Commandments by playing a part in abortion, birth control, in-vitro fertilisation or euthanasia. Abortion until the 25th week of pregnancy is legal in Poland if the mother’s life is in grave danger, the foetus is known to have severe birth defects or the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest.

Poland has 377,000 doctors and nurses so the signatories represent barely 1% of the medical profession. And among them are many students, dozens of dentists, four balneologists and a dance therapist (number 1805 on the leaked list). . . . [Full text]

MaterCare International stands firmly behind Dr. Bogdan Chazan




June 12, 2014- MaterCare International stands firmly behind Dr. Bogdan Chazan, who is being told by the Polish Prime Minister to put the laws of the nation state above his Catholic faith.

Dr. Bogdan Chazan, a distinguished and celebrated obstetrician in Warsaw, has denied a request to abort an unborn child diagnosed with serious brain defects. An openly Catholic obstetrician, Dr. Chazan previously signed a “Declaration of Faith”, along with approximately 3,000 other physicians, which calls for the recognition of a Roman Catholic doctor’s rights to perform their duties in line with their religious convictions. Dr. Chazan argued that an abortion is against his faith and has come under siege from the Polish government and has been the victim of hateful attacks from fringe groups who oppose his rights as a Roman Catholic doctor.

Poland, a predominantly Catholic country, has remained in favour of positive alternatives to abortion for decades. Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk said in a statement on Tuesday, reducing doctors to servants of the nation state, “Regardless of what his conscience is telling him [the doctor] must carry out the law.”

MaterCare International’s Executive Director Dr. Robert Walley commented, ““The simple fact is that the majority of people who have ever lived, and quite probably a large majority of people today, see abortion as the execution of an innocent life. Demanding that citizens abandon their morality and conduct executions at the command of the government is the hallmark of the most totalitarian and sinister states in human history. We are saddened and outraged that with this measure against Professor Chazan, Poland seems intent on joining their ranks.”

Walley continued, “People of faith become doctors, because they want to help people. They want to offer healing and hope, not death and despair. We look to them to give us their best advice and opinions. If we say doctors cannot have opinions, that patients are allowed to dictate their wants to a physician, then what good is a doctor? Whether or not to do anything is a moral decision, and to point the finger at those with religious backgrounds is prejudice. We should value their morality and not punish them for it. Dr. Bogdan Chazan, like Ghandi, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and countless others, equates this ‘procedure’ with murder, being forced by the law to commit murder is something we can all surely reject.”

Through his decades of service, Dr. Chazan, as a physician and professor of gynecology and obstetrics, has gained the respect of colleagues, his fellow staff, and his patients. He is a graduate of the Medical Academy in Warsaw. Previuosly, he worked as a professor at the National Research Institute of Mother and Child and was the national consultant in obstetrics and gynecology. Since 2004 he has served as a director of the Holy Family Hospital in Warsaw.

Since 1994, Dr. Bogdan Chazan he has been a member of the Government Population Commission and a member of the Committee of the Demography of the Polish Academy of Sciences. He continues to work as a strong proponent of natural family planning and Naprotechnology in Poland. He was nominated twice, in 2010 and 2012 for the award “Totus” for “courageous and consistent activities for the benefit of the civilization of life in the spirit of St. John Paul II’s teaching”. He is the chairman of the Council of MaterCare International and director of MaterCare Poland.

-Dr. Robert Walley, Executive Director of MaterCare International

MaterCare International is an organization of Catholic health professionals dedicated to the care of mothers and babies, both born and unborn, through new initiatives of service, training, research and education.

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