P., was raped when she was 14 years old and became pregnant as a result. The rape was formally denounced to the authorities in Lublin on April, 2008. P., together with her mother, S., decided to request a legal abortion.
The attending doctor suggested that P. should get married instead of seeking an abortion and sent her to a public hospital. There, she was treated by a female doctor and was made to sign a document warning about the alleged risk of abortion, which were said to include death. P. was contacted by a priest, without her permission, who had, in violation of the right to health care provider-patient confidentiality been provided with details of her medical situation. The doctor ultimately refused to terminate the pregnancy and told P that she was a bad mother and that she would adopt both S and her unborn child. The case was made known to the general public when the hospital made a public statement, again in breach of health care provider-patient confidentiality, with information about P. and S. Thereafter a series of unknown and unidentified persons contacted and pressured P. and S. to change their minds, and not terminate the pregnancy.
A family court in Lublin ordered that P. be taken to a juvenile shelter and restricted the custody rights of S. arguing the S. was forcing P. to seek an abortion. P., after being held in a police car for a number of hours, was finally taken to the juvenile shelter where she was locked in a room by herself. She was not permitted to contact S. or be accompanied by anyone. The next morning, P. was in much pain and bleeding, and was sent to the hospital. After a series of judicial proceedings S. custody rights were restored.
Based on the barriers to access an abortion created or put in place by various government representatives, as well as the degrading treatment of P. and the deprivation of her liberty in order to avoid the termination of the pregnancy, the European Court of Human Rights found Poland responsible for breaches of article 5 (the right to liberty), article 3(the prohibition of torture) and article 8 (the right to a private life) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The judicial decision can be downloaded in its original version in English.