Abortion is illegal in Poland. To no one’s surprise this doesn’t mean abortions aren’t performed there, it’s just moved them to the back alleys – unless, of course, you’re rich. Or maybe not. A pro-abortion group has been up hanging posters which claim it’s cheaper (and less dangerous) to leave the country than to get one in country. And they did it using the MasterCard “Priceless” trope.
Plane ticket to England – 300 zloty.
Accommodation – 240 zloty.
Abortion in a public clinic – 0 zloty.
Relief after a procedure carried out in decent conditions – priceless.
There’s a line at the bottom which reads: "For everything, you pay less than an underground abortion in Poland." (FYI: $1 = 2.81 zloty)
Some of the Brits have their knickers in a twist and claim this promotes “abortion tourism.” (Headlines like “NOW POLES GET FREE ABORTIONS ON NHS,” make me suspect the press has manufactured at least some of the alleged outrage.)
Several stories from UK news organizations include the following claim (or something much like it): “Thousands of Polish women travel to Britain for an abortion each year, taking advantage of the reciprocal agreement for the provision of free medical care under EU laws.” However the closest any of the reports come to citing the basis for this claim is by identifying it as coming from “A Polish source.”
A church publication called The Trumpet says, “A report by the Polish Federation for Women and Family Planning stated that 10,000 Polish women had abortions in Britain in 2007—costing the National Health Service (nhs) between ₤5 and ₤10 million.” Oddly, the most recent report in English on the group’s website is dated 2002. Also it is hard for me to understand why a Polish group in favor of liberalization of the abortion laws would have calculated the cost of all this to the NHS. But what do I know?
Even if somehow these statistics were true, it means 2007 was a banner year. The UK’s Office of National Statistics said only 30 Polish women took this course of action in 2008.
The only truly priceless thing here is the free publicity all this has given to SROM, the group behind the ad. Hard to see how else a bunch of street posters in Lodz would be making international headlines.