RR v Poland: ECHR 26 May 2011

The applicant learned of possible malformation of the foetus from an ultrasound at the 18-week stage. Her repeated requests for genetic tests were met with procrastination, confusion and a lack of proper counselling and information, and it was not until the 23rd week that, with the help of a sympathetic doctor, she was able to gain access to a hospital by subterfuge and have appropriate tests, the results of which were only available two weeks later. She was then told that the foetus had Edwards’ syndrome, but was refused an abortion on the basis that it was now too late, after the 24-week stage. As a result, she had to carry the baby to term, and deliver it. The legislation providing for abortion expressly, and unequivocally entitled a pregnant woman to ‘unimpeded access to prenatal information and testing’. The applicant was in a situation of great vulnerability and deeply distressed by the information that the foetus could be malformed. The services not provided to her had been available, and she had been shabbily treated and, as the Polish Supreme Court had also found, humiliated
Held: The Convention does not require a state to make abortion services generally available, still less to make them free of charge, but, once it decides to make them available, whether free of charge or otherwise, the state must devise a framework for access to them which accords with Convention obligations
27617/04, [2011] ECHR 828, (2011) 53 EHRR 31
European Convention on Human Rights
Human Rights
Cited by:
CitedA and B, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Health SC 14-Jun-2017
The court was asked: ‘Was it unlawful for the Secretary of State for Health, the respondent, who had power to make provisions for the functioning of the National Health Service in England, to have failed to make a provision which would have enabled . .
CitedHuman Rights Commission for Judicial Review (Northern Ireland : Abortion) SC 7-Jun-2018
The Commission challenged the compatibility of the NI law relating to banning nearly all abortions with Human Rights Law. It now challenged a decision that it did not have standing to bring the case.
Held: (Lady Hale, Lord Kerr and Lord Wilson . .
CitedCrowter and Others, Regina (On the Application Of) v Secretary of State for Health And Social Care Admn 23-Sep-2021
Foetus has no Established Human Rights
The Claimants sought a declaration that section 1(1)(d) of the Abortion Act 1967, as amended, is incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights (‘ECHR’), as well as some other remedies. The claimant had Down’s Syndrome, and complained the . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 26 September 2021; Ref: scu.440212