Page last updated at 19:40 GMT, Wednesday, 23 September 2009 20:40 UK

Award for Poland abortion woman

By Adam Easton
BBC News, Warsaw

Alicja Tysiac
Ms Tysiac was acting on medical advice when seeking an abortion

A Polish court has awarded $11,000 (7,400 euros) in damages to a woman likened to a child killer by a Catholic magazine for wanting an abortion.

The article also compared abortion to the experiments of Nazi war criminals at Auschwitz.

Alicja Tysiac had been warned by doctors when she became pregnant that she could go blind if she had her baby.

But she was denied an abortion - illegal in most cases in Poland - and her eyesight subsequently deteriorated.

The court in Katowice, southern Poland, ruled that the Catholic magazine, Gosc Niedzielny, had drawn clear parallels between Ms Tysiac's desire to have an abortion and the actions of Nazi war criminals.

The judge said it had shown "contempt, hostility and malice" towards the 38-year-old woman.

The judge said Catholics have the right to express their disapproval of abortion and even call it murder, but they did not have the right to vilify individuals.

Rights ruling

Ms Tysiac's sight problems grew worse following the births of each of her three children.

Acting on medical advice, she decided to have an abortion when she became pregnant for a third time eight years ago but her gynaecologist refused to perform the procedure.

Poland has strict abortion regulations but they are allowed when the health of the mother or embryo is threatened.

Two years ago, the European Court of Human Rights ordered Poland to pay Ms Tysiac 25,000 euros ($36,000) in compensation.

The Catholic magazine wrote that she had been compensated for wanting to kill her child.

The magazine's editor-in-chief, Father Marek Gancarczyk, said the ruling was unfair and denied comparing Ms Tysiac to Nazi criminals.

His lawyers said they would use the principle of freedom of speech to appeal against the court's verdict.

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