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Poland has a judge problem

Poland has a judge problem. Although abortion is much more restricted in Poland than it is in the U.S., a Polish judge has ordered pro-life protesters to stop saying that abortion is killing. But it gets worse. The judge has dictated language to the pro-lifers (or at least to one of the pro-lifers, Jacek Kotula) for an apology to the hospital at which they were protesting. She (the judge) tells Kotula that he must say the following:

[By] organizing pickets and manifestations in defense of unborn children, I was spreading false information about the work of the hospital Pro-Familia in Rzeszow. In particular, I was spreading information that the babies in this hospital were being killed.

Let's be clear: It is not that the hospital is saying that abortions are not performed there. The above wording of an apology would make sense if the claim that abortions are performed at this hospital were simply a false claim. But that isn't what this lawsuit is about. Rather, the hospital admits that abortions are done on its premises but says that "pregnancy terminations" aren't baby killing and that the pro-lifers must be stopped from calling them "killing." The judge agrees and orders Kotula to apologize and to call it "false information" that babies are being killed at the hospital.

Just occasionally one runs across people who will argue that civil disobedience is not called for in the abortion wars because laws permitting abortion are not requiring pro-lifers to do anything wrong themselves. This case is a counterexample to that claim. Here pro-lifers are being directly ordered by a court to tell falsehoods about abortion--namely, to say that abortion does not kill babies.

The pro-lifers have appealed the ruling, which I assume means that they aren't issuing the apology. I hope that they never do so, under any circumstances. This particular pro-life group seems pretty feisty; there is reason to hope that they would go to jail rather than say what the judge has dictated.

Another point that comes to my mind from reading this story is the way that abortion activism is often driven from the top down. Nobody could claim plausibly that what the judge is doing here is a result of the evils of democracy! Both Polish law and Polish popular opinion strongly support the idea that abortion is killing. The judge is unilaterally imposing her own pro-choice ideas, which are in conflict not only with reality but also with the will of the majority of the Polish people, on the pro-life protesters.

It's easy to forget the history of abortion in our own country. It's true that America in 1973 was probably not as pro-life at a popular level as Poland in 2014, but Roe v. Wade was a huge judicial imposition nonetheless. Anti-democracy reactionary conservatives frequently ignore actual history in their push to say that the whole problem is democracy. Even the fact that judges are appointed by an official (such as the President) who is elected is a weak argument, since the entire point of the indirect influence of the popular will upon judicial nomination was to make judicial positions less a product of democracy than the position of an ordinary politician. That is also the point in American law of the fact that federal judges are appointed for life unless impeached. It appears that the court system in Poland is similarly a matter of appointment rather than direct election with the need to seek re-election.

Watching the imposition from on high of pro-abortion ideas in Poland should remind us of our own history. It should also encourage us to continue in the fight to spread pro-life truths at the popular level despite the bad teaching effects of law and never to give up our fight against abortion.

May God strengthen Jacek Kotula to resist this wicked court order, whatever happens in his appeal.

Related article here.

Comments (8)

Of course, he can ignore the judge, who has no moral authority at all. There might be legal reprocussions, but, so was there for Christ.

Of more interest is whether or not the judge is Catholic. If so, she is probably guilty of violating Can. 915 of the Code of Canon Law and should be denied Communion. Also, it looks like she is guilty of the defense of the evil done by anortion, which make her a cooperator in the sin of abortion, if not actually guilty of violating Can. 1398, which would be punishable by excommunication.

The Chicken

Good point Masked Chicken!
She should have recused herself if she is a catholic.
So I would say she probably isnt.
...but even then there may be other reasons she isnt fit to give an impartial ruling on this particular topic.

Could this judge be a hold over from the Soviet era?

Not impossible but I'd say unlikely. More likely just a progressive with a will to power.

I don't know anything about the appeals system in Poland, but to American ears seems unlikely that this decision would stand up to an appeal. On several different grounds, not just one. For instance, I find it difficult to believe that a judge can basically write the content of an apology on her own authority: "you shall say 'X' in apology "

Not to disagree with Lydia at all in that Kotula should refuse to comply, I am envisioning some nice, fun malicious compliance. Write an apology in this format:

Dear Hospital Administrator:

I recently protested in front of the hospital with an objection to the hospital's practice of killing babies. The text of the signs were ...[re-state all of the signs explicitly.] It is of course my position that a human fetus is a human being and a baby.

You took me to court for defamation, claiming that my statement the hospital is killing "children" is not accurate. It is of course your position that a human fetus is not a human being or a baby. You did not contest my claim that you perform abortions, or that abortions kill human fetuses.

Your position won in court. As a result, Judge Kocoj demanded that I apologize publicly. She demanded that I state the following ...

[repeat the dictated text.]

In compliance with this heinous judicial act of despotism, I am writing this letter, which has the required statement of apology above. In conformity with Judge Kocoj's decision to "define" the term "baby" in a special way and in contradiction to the standard usage of that term as well as the universal usage of the term in medical texts, solely for the purpose of the rest of this letter I conform to the dictatorial judge's definition of the term "baby" and adhere to terms of the text demanded of me. Therefore, strictly within the context of this letter only:

This hospital aborts human fetuses.
All medical texts for human physiology use the term "baby" and "fetus" interchangeably. Judge Kocoj did not dispute this fact.
For the purposes of the rest of this letter only the term "human fetus" is not equivalent to a "human baby," taking "baby" in the special, technical sense the despotic Judge Kocoj deems correct.
For the purposes of the rest of this letter only this hospital does not kill babies.
Under Judge Kocoj's definitions only, the information I was spreading was false information. Strictly in that sense of "false" I declare that

[By] organizing pickets and manifestations in defense of unborn children, I was spreading false information about the work of the hospital Pro-Familia in Rzeszow. In particular, I was spreading information that the babies in this hospital were being killed.

Since the law does not, and cannot, require my changing my conscience as well as my public actions, I remain convinced of the same position I started with.

Then publish it in the papers.

I'd probably cut it in the middle, after the word "above" and thus merely include the "apology" as a quote from the judge. Then go directly to the last sentence about conscience.

Sure, that's another way of doing it. There's no single solution with malicious compliance.

Could this judge be a hold over from the Soviet era?

It's very possible. He or she need not have been in office then, but they'd be a child of a party official. Poland is pretty divided in this regard. It's not as if nobody votes for the SLD party and it's not as if people such as Witold Pilecki or Ryszard Kuklinski are not seen in a negative light by many Poles.

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