Government Has 'Blood on Its Hands' Family Says After Woman Denied Abortion Dies

The family of a Polish woman who died Thursday said the government has "blood on its hands" after the woman was denied an abortion following the death of one of her twin fetuses.

The 37-year-old woman identified only as Agnieszka T. is the latest pregnant woman to die in Poland just one year after the country passed some of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe. Women's human rights groups and her family blame the strict law, alleging doctors refused to carry out an abortion right away following the death of the fetus, a decision that they say cost Agnieszka her life, the Associated Press reported.

Agnieszka was pregnant with twins during her first trimester when she was admitted to the Blessed Virgin Mary Hospital in Częstochowa on December 21, 2021, with abdominal pain and vomiting, the AP said.

According to her family, she arrived at the hospital in "good physical and mental shape," according to The Guardian. After two days in the hospital, one of the heartbeats of the twins stopped.

Doctors waited to see if they could save the second fetus because Polish law prohibits the removal of a dead fetus, All-Poland Women's Strike said on Facebook.

According to The Guardian, Agnieszka's family claims after the first fetus died "her state quickly deteriorated."

The family said doctors refused to carry out the abortion citing Poland's abortion laws. "Her husband begged the doctors to save his wife, even at the cost of the pregnancy," The Guardian quoted Agnieszka's twin sister, Wioletta Paciepnik.

Agnieszka was forced to carry the fetus for another seven days until the second twin died on December 29, according to the AP. The doctors didn't terminate the pregnancy for another two days until December 31.

Under Polish law, all abortions are banned except in the case of rape or incest, or if the mother's life and health are considered in danger, the AP reported.

Following the terminated pregnancy, the woman remained in the hospital for weeks with deteriorating health. She ultimately died on January 25 from what her family suspects was septic shock. The Guardian reported that the cause of death was not released in a statement by the hospital on Wednesday.

All-Poland Women's Strike on Facebook said the family was not allowed to see Agnieszka, and the hospital made it very difficult to contact her. The group said that doctors "insinuated" that Agnieszka's rapidly deteriorating condition was due to "mad cow disease" or Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (CJD), suggesting that she ate raw meat and had an inadequate diet.

"Another victim of the ban on abortion in Poland: 37-year-old Agnieszka of Częstochowa," the women's group said on Facebook, according to the AP. "We keep shouting #NotOneMore, but the ban on abortion is killing more and more women."

The Guardian reported that the hospital's statement denied that an abortion was requested.

"We stress that the hospital staff did all the necessary actions to save the patient," the statement was quoted.

Polish Woman Denied Abortion Dies
Protests are underway in Poland after a 37-year-old woman died after being refused an abortion. Above, a group of women's rights activists with a sign reading "Abortion Without Borders" protests the country's strict anti-abortion laws outside the top constitutional court in Warsaw, Poland, on Wednesday, January 26. Czarek Sokolowski/AP Photo