The Catholic Church strongly influences Polish society, and Poland has one of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe. We attempted to gather information by questionnaire from women considering TOP. Women were asked about their perceptions of the attending medical staff and whether they felt they had been fully informed of their rights, as well as about conduct of the procedure itself in light of physicians’ use of the ‘conscience clause.’

All women deemed eligible for TOP for medical reasons were asked to complete an anonymous questionnaire (n = 240). A total of 150 questionnaires were returned and analyzed.

Most respondents lived in a town or city, and a significant number lived outside the area where the study center was located. The main reason for such a large group of out-of-region respondents was the lack of centers offering TOP where the women lived. Only one attending obstetrician did not support a decision to abort the pregnancy. Although 65% of treating physicians supported the woman’s decision, only 8% were willing to perform the procedure themselves.

Most regional centers offer no access to TOP, despite the legal right of women to abort their pregnancy in the event of a severe fetal defect. Some physicians refuse to perform abortions, citing conscientious objection.