NOT INTERROGATED WITNESS
Fr. Krzysztof Podstawka says especially for the ‘Sunday’ about the verdict of the Tribunal in Strasburg
On 30 October this year in Strasburg there was a verdict announced ‘in the matter of Agata’. The girl and her mother complained among the others about the obstructions in carrying out abortion
A teenage girl from Lublin was expecting a baby in Spring 2008. However Agata – because mass media called the girl so – did not become mother. Life of her baby was brutally disrupted in the name of respecting the law which allows for abortion in specified situations. A tragedy of two people – 14-year-old mother and a baby resting under her heart – was taking place under the eyes of millions of people. A few days ago the case of Agata became loud again.
The European Tribunal of Human Rights stated that Poland breached regulations about the protection of human rights and basic freedoms concerning the prohibition of inhuman and humiliating treating, right for respecting private and family life, and also right for freedom and personal safety. Poland is supposed to pay compensation to the girl and her mother. Federation for Women and Family Planning which has been engaging in this matter since the very beginning, was successful again. But what was an occasion for celebrations to some people, it was sad and bitter reflections for others that in the XXI century in Christian Europe human life is hardly worthy. In the year 2008 the director of the House of Lonely Mother at that time, Fr. Krzysztof Podstawka got engaged in the matter of Agata and rescuing her baby. Being accused unjustly by pro-abortion communities, including ‘Electoral newspaper’, among the others, of nagging the girl and influencing her decisions, after four years he reminds about many facts which were omitted in the matter or falsely presented. I am surprised by the fact that since June 2008 till the day of announcement of the verdict nobody was looking for contact with me, in the matter of one of the loudest issues which, in the recent years, have concerned life protection from its conception– says the priest, today the vice-Chancellor of the Metropolitan Curia and the press spokesman of the metropolitan of Lublin archbishop Stanisław Budzik. I met Agata in June 2008. I found out that the 14-year-old girl was expecting a baby and wanted to give birth to the baby but met with the resistance from her family who did not accept her different state. Her baby’s father was her friend with whom she was in friendship and a kind of an ‘engagement’ about which her family and school environments knew – reminds Fr. Podstawka. The teenage girl was in a difficult situation, needed understanding, warm-heartedness and support. – As the director of the House of Lonely Mother, but mainly as a priest, I felt obliged to help her – he says. I had the first meeting with Agata in the presence of her mum. At that time there were not undertaken specific obligations but Fr. Podstawka became sure that the girl did not want to hurt her baby. She asked for help in convincing her mum about the rightfulness of her decision. Agata gave the priest her telephone number and was in touch with him. Only her relatives had known about the matter, till her mother informed the federation of Wanda Nowicka. At that time in mass media a quarrel started during which two innocent children fell victims.
Mass media were informing the public opinion about the situation of Agata, assigning the signs of the criminal act to the circumstances of conceiving the baby – despite the facts. When a hospital in Lublin refused to do abortion, being convinced of the fact that Agata wanted to give birth to her baby, in the ‘Electoral Newspaper’ there appeared information about a rape. And although the ‘Electoral newspaper’ was quickly withdrawing from these unfounded accusations, was supporting false information among the others, about the fanatic priest who was influencing Agata’s decisions against her will, or about the hospital which made public the history of the girl. – Agata was accepting my person and our contact by phone or e-mail was clearly to her wish – says Fr. Podstawka, showing e-mails from four years ago and an invitation written by Agata, with words that he could visit her, whenever he wanted: ‘I cordially invite Fr. Krzysztof Podstawka to visit me in hospital. Post scriptum: priest can drop in whenever he wants’. – I have never forced the girl to give birth to her baby, but I was supporting her with a prayer and word in her decision only to her wish – assures the priest. – Nevertheless unsuitable comments and threats started to appear about me and in mass media there was a belief that the representative of the Church is trying to enforce such a responsible decision from the child – he says. Among many materials collected by Fr. Krzysztof, and concerning the matter, there are a lot of e-mail prints and inscriptions in internet forums, extremely insulting, false ones which harm the priest. Despite a kind of an attack against life, carried out in the name of alleged freedom and respect of law, Fr. Podstawka was getting engaged in the matter of Agata as much as she needed his support. – I went to the wish of the girl to a hospital in Warsaw as well, in which abortion was supposed to be done. I felt obliged to inform the hospital that the decision about abortion was not conscious or voluntary choice of Agata – he says. He also denies the information which say that he was making public the private matters of Agata and her family. – She was writing on blog about her young love and searching for help for herself and her unborn baby, placing photos and contact data there. Everybody who has Internet could reach to them – and to prove his words Fr. Podstawka takes out printed pages of photo-blog and social portals. As it is known the hospital in Warsaw also refused to do abortion and Agata got to one of centres in Lublin, maintaining her decision about giving birth to her baby. After some time she got into a hospital. – The last time I saw Agata was in hospital where I visited her in the company of her friend. When she returned home, she was still contacting me by phone or via e-mail. One day I received information from her that her mum was taking her somewhere. Later I learnt from mass media that the minister of that time Ewa Kopacz had found a hospital which agreed to do abortion – says Fr. Krzysztof. The girl had tried to contact the priest by phone several times, the last time – assuming by phone number – from abroad. – I will have Agata in my memory till the end of my life. I met her as a warm-hearted, nice, very talented and mature at her age girl – says Fr. Krzysztof.
The verdict of the European tribunal brought many memories and provoked new reflections. The case of Agata is still raising many emotions, especially that there are many unclear things here. – In a report presented by the Seym of the Polish Republic about the realisation of the bill about family planning in the statistics of done abortions, executed as a result of a forbidden act for 2008 there is number ‘0’. In the reports after the verdict in Strasburg it was written that abortion had been done 500 km from Lublin. Beside that, the issue of pregnancy is still coming back, which is defined as a result of raping, which as we know, did not take place. It must be raising much doubts – says Fr. Podstawka. In his opinion, pro-abortion environments used the person of Agata in their game, taking advantage of her situation to realise their purposes, among which one of the most important is an attempt to persuade the society into belief that Poland is a country which restrictively limits the freedom of a woman in her deciding about the fate of her unborn baby. – In this matter there appeared too many lies – says the priest.- I accept the verdict of the tribunal, but I do not want to comment on it. I admire professionalism and unusual engagement of the Foundation for the sake of Women and Family Planning, which engaged so many centres in order to accuse its own country of breaching the regulations of the European Convention about the protection of human rights and basic freedoms – he says with bitter irony. The priest from Lublin, thanking everybody who stood for the protection of the dignity of Agata and her unborn baby, who, despite the propaganda, maintained much discretion and declared their help, also protests against the statements that the right for freedom and personal safety was breached, of which Poland was accused by the tribunal in Strasburg. – I do not know on what basis the tribunal gave its statement, if another party of this matter had not been interrogated – says Fr. Krzysztof Podstawka. And he adds sadly: - And the death civilisation won again.