Once more, Poland forgets its own history


This is not the gate to an abortion clinic. Just so’s you know.

As a teenager back in the 1980s, I was always seeing stuff about Poland on the news. Something about a union calling itself Solidarity, and its struggles for independence against the huge, oppressive state apparatus that everyone was calling communism (even though it looked like nothing Karl Marx had ever written about except capitalism, and that was precisely the problem with it.) One of Solidarity’s points of conflict with the Polish state was the matter of religion: Solidarity wanted freedom of religion, Poland’s Moscow-connected rulers kept saying nyet. Of course, since the overwhelming majority of Poles had been Catholic before communism, the Polish branch of the Roman Catholic Church, Inc., was all fire-and-flame behind Solidarity!

Well, in 1989 the Berlin Wall finally fell, and now Poland has something we loosely call democracy, as well as some other things we loosely call freedom of religion, and freedom of speech. And the RCC is once more firmly in control of the land. But Poland also has an unholy consequence to deal with as a result of all this religion-and-speechin’, and it comes in the form of one young visually-impaired woman:

A Polish court on Wednesday ordered a Roman Catholic magazine to pay a fine and apologize to a woman for likening her to a killer for wanting an abortion and equating the practice with Nazi crimes.

Judge Ewa Solecka ruled Wednesday that Catholics are free to express their moral disapproval of abortion — and even call it murder — but in a general way that stops short of vilifying an individual.

Solecka ordered the magazine, Gosc Niedzielny, which is published by the Katowice archdiocese, to pay Alicja Tysiac 30,000 zlotys (nearly $11,000) and issue her a written apology.

Solecka said the magazine’s language was “particularly contemptuous” of Tysiac.

So what did Ms. Tysiac do? Well, she had the audacity to be born with severely limited eyesight, and to ask for an abortion on the grounds that she could go blind. She had already had two children, and her eyesight had apparently deteriorated further as a result. Her doctor had warned her that if a third pregnancy went to term, she could become more impaired still–possibly even lose her sight altogether.

Now, any mother knows that it’s hard to keep an eye on one’s children even in the peak of health. It’s practically a full-time job. So, just imagine being a blind mother. Not an appealing prospect? Funny, that’s just what Ms. Tysiac thought, too.

But the church/state (funny how little separation there is between the two, in Poland) wouldn’t let her terminate that pregnancy, and she was forced to give birth…and suffer a retinal hemorrhage that did, indeed, worsen her already serious eye problem considerably. But that was only the beginning of it. Without wanting to be, Alycja Tysiac became the lighting rod for the whole abortion issue in Poland. Religious types called her nothing less than a Nazi death camp doctor–and all for seeking one small surgical procedure that could have saved her sight and enabled her to be a better mother to her two existing children. And when Ms. Tysiac had the audacity to sue a religious Sunday magazine for that bit of libel, there was a huge uproar. Now the magazine is going to appeal, saying it doesn’t owe her a zloty, much less an apology.

Unfortunately, I don’t think the church magazine’s appeal is going to go all that well, for the simple reason that freedom of speech doesn’t entail freedom from responsibility for what one says. If it’s a lie, and it does harm to an innocent person, you can’t put it in print and expect to get away with it. And this is precisely what’s happening in this case. But someone, who should know better, just doesn’t see it that way:

Following the ruling, the editor of Gosc Niedzielny (Sunday Visitor), Rev. Marek Gancarczyk, wrote: “We live in a world where a mother receives an award for very much wanting to kill her child, but not being allowed to do so.”

Gancarczyk compared abortion to the ghastly medical experiments performed at Auschwitz by the infamous Dr. Josef Mengele and others. “They had become accustomed to the murders being carried out behind the fence of the camp. And what is the case today? Different, but just as terrible,” he wrote.

Now, I doubt very much that Alycja Tysiac “very much wanted to kill her child”. If that were the case, she could have drowned the two existing ones in the bathtub, like Andrea Yates did. She didn’t do anything nearly so terrible. All she did was ask for a surgical procedure that would have spared her the retinal hemorrhage that she later suffered. Is that “just as terrible”…as this?


Note that none of the corpses in this pile is a fetus. They are all well past birth.


These prisoners, forced to carry the corpse of a comrade, are not abortionists. The head in the tongs is that of an adult.


This is not a medical-waste disposal area, which is where the end products of abortion would normally end up. This is a crematorium. Corpses of already-born people ended up in it.


This is not an “abortion mill”, nor is it an “abortuary”, nor is it any of those other stupid euphemisms the anti-choice movement uses instead of just saying the word clinic. This is the gas chamber of Auschwitz-Birkenau. As you can see, it holds hundreds. They packed ’em in there very tight.

This is the true horror of the death camps.

THIS is what the Roman Catholic Church in Poland wants us to believe is equivalent to abortion?

Anyone who thinks there is any equivalence, should really check the size of that gas chamber again. It is far more easy and efficient to gas adults and already-born children en masse than it is to evacuate the contents of a single woman’s uterus.

And no, abortion clinics are not “mills”. There is no assembly line. There is no mass horror. There is no murder (malice aforethought–by legal definition), no grotesque experimentation, and no torture. It is a normal medical setting. Each woman is treated as an individual, with the respect accorded to an individual, thinking, fully functional person. She gets to sit down with the doctor, the nurses, the counselors. She gets to air her feelings, even if some of them are misgivings. Someone is there to hold her hand, to reassure her, to dry her tears. That’s more than any woman–or man,
or child–entering that grim gate at Auschwitz ever got.

And that’s certainly more respect than this “pro-life” padre editing that Sunday magazine would ever think to accord her, I’m sure.

But you know what’s the real kicker here? Take a look at this, and see if you can tell me:


Hmm. Looks like someone also forgot his history lessons.

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This entry was posted in Crapagandarati, Fascism Without Swastikas, Fetus Fetishists, Not So Compassionate Conservatism, Uppity Wimmin, Who Forgot Poland?. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Once more, Poland forgets its own history

  1. Manaat says:

    If you haven’t seen this already, here’s an interesting interview with Elena Rodriguez:

  2. Dr. Prole says:

    Right on, Bina. Right on.

  3. greengeeta says:

    as always, well researched, powerful work. thank you.

  4. otto says:

    gotta say i prefer the photo of fidel and che playing golf, but these are memory-burners, too.

  5. Slave Revolt says:

    I have always suspected that the abortion issue works as a sort of displacement: it allow people that support barbaric, murderous policies to pose as if they stand on moral high ground.
    They would live austere, ascetic lives, and direct surpluses toward supporting poor parents and children, help alleviate preventable deaths and starvation, etc….if they were even a little sincere.
    Btw, the gringo missionaries in Honduras are all about supporting the coup. Interesting, but not surprising.
    Great work, Bina.

  6. Very astute observation, amigo…and yes, I think so too. “Inasmuch as you have done it to the least of these my brothers, you have done it to me.” Funny, though, how they only apply that to one issue (if any), one that concerns them not in the least–while ignoring the screeching evidence of all the already-born people out there living in misery.
    What I find, though, is most startling about all this, is the underlying, and very unmerciful, unChristian subtext: Jezebel, keep your legs shut. It’s really not about saving babies, no matter what anyone says. If it were, these people would be spending all their money on incubators to donate to the nearest neonatal unit, or fund-raising for a new maternity wing at the hospital.
    So, where are those things? I don’t see them exactly pouring in…unlike donations to the “crisis pregnancy centres” whose sole mission is to scare and guilt-trip women out of not only abortions, but sex altogether. (I found the “volunteer counselor” literature from one of them in a garbage can in a public washroom once. It recommended separating the woman from any companion she came with, and also specifically said not to discuss birth control other than abstinence. It confirmed every nasty suspicion I ever had about those places!)

  7. polka says:

    “Once more, Poland forgets its own history”
    ee? sorry a can’t read this.
    man who write this title must be an ignorant.
    We remember more than anyone.
    Sometimes our memory is to big to forgive beyond the time.

  8. If you can’t read it, you must be illiterate.
    And if you think I’m a man, you ARE illiterate.
    And if you think you remember, then come on here gushing glurge like that, guess what–you HAVE forgotten, and proved me right.

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