Poland’s government is facing criticism over a new provision that requires doctors to record each pregnancy in the country.
Opposition MPs have labelled the medical data list as a “pregnancy register” and an infringement of women’s rights.
Poland had earlier placed a near-total ban on abortion and activists are concerned that women will face unprecedented surveillance from the ruling conservative party.
Under the order by Health Minister Adam Niedzielski, doctors must now record information about pregnancies, including any past or current illnesses, medical visits, treatments and blood type, a move the government says followed EU recommendations and will allow medical workers to help patients both in Poland and abroad.
Opposition lawmakers say the register could be a “new tool of repression” against women that was aimed to detect possible illegal abortions. The register can also be accessed by the Polish prosecutor’s office, subject to a court ruling.
The government register was also denounced by Poland’s opposition leader and former EU Council President Donald Tusk.
“Polish women need care, not control,” Tusk said during a press conference in Biestrzyki on Monday.
The new measure could see many Polish women seek private treatment or travel abroad, even for prenatal care.
Under a strict 2020 legal reform, Polish women can only seek an abortion if there is a serious risk to the mother’s health or if the pregnancy results from rape or incest.
Government plans to report pregnant women who were seen drinking or smoking were withdrawn after widespread demonstrations.