EU Court: Woman Denied Pre-Natal Genetic Testing Suffered “Inhuman and Degrading Treatment”
Thursday, May 26, 2011

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that women are entitled to prenatal genetic testing, calling a lack of access to testing “inhuman treatment”. The case, R.R. v Poland, was brought forth by a mother-of-two who was pregnant with a baby thought to have a severe genetic abnormality who sought genetic testing to determine if she should seek an abortion. Her screening tests were delayed causing her to miss the window in which abortions for fetal disability are permitted under Polish law and she later gave birth to a daughter with Turner Syndrome. She brought suit against Poland arguing she was subject to inhuman and degrading treatment and that her rights to private and family life were violated. The Court agreed and ordered Poland to pay her 45,000 euros in damages and 15,000 euros in costs and expenses. The pro-abortion Center for Reproductive Rights, which assisted in the case, celebrated the Court’s decision as historic. “Today’s decision is a groundbreaking victory for women across Europe. Governments cannot let doctors impose their anti-abortion ideology on pregnant women who are seeking genetic testing,” said CRR President Nancy Northup.