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Illegal abortions $95M a year in Poland

WARSAW, Poland, May 18 (UPI) -- Doctors who perform illegal abortions in Poland make some $95 million a year, researchers calculate.

Study author Agata Chełstowska, a doctoral student at the University of Warsaw, says after the criminalization of abortion in Poland in the late 1980s, the number of abortions carried out in hospitals fell by 99 percent. Getting a legal abortion is difficult; in several high-profile cases, women and girls have been denied legal abortions following rape or serious health conditions and were hounded by the media for seeking them.

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However, the business of private illegal abortions is flourishing, with abortion providers advertising openly in newspapers, Chełstowska says.

In 2009, the cost of a surgical abortion in Poland was greater than the average monthly income of a Polish citizen, but some women get a legal abortion in Britain or Germany.

"In the private sector, illegal abortion must be cautiously arranged and paid for out of pocket," Chełstowska says in a statement. "When a woman enters that sphere, her sin turns into gold. Her private worries become somebody else's private gain."

The findings are published in the journal Reproductive Health Matters.

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