Polish parliament passes bill on right to IVF treatment
WARSAW – Poland’s parliament passed a bill stipulating the conditions for offering in-vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment on Thursday, fulfilling a key government promise as it looks to attract liberal voters before elections in October.
IVF treatment has been available in Poland for 25 years but the traditionally Roman Catholic country has until now not passed legislation regulating it, remaining the only European Union member not to have done so.
The Roman Catholic Church opposes in-vitro fertilization, saying it divorces marital sex from procreation and could result in the destruction of fertilized embryos.
The ruling center-right Civic Platform party, in power since 2007, has tried before to set up a legal framework allowing IVF, but failed because Catholic conservatives in its ranks wanted it explicitly outlawed.
But in a show of party unity, Civic Platform lawmakers voted overwhelmingly in favor of the bill, with only five out of 197 lawmakers opposing it, and two abstaining.
“The in vitro bill is a great success of Polish freedom,” Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz said after the vote.
Many Civic Platform supporters, the majority of them socially liberal city dwellers, have been discouraged by the party backing down in efforts to legalise gay civil partnerships and its inability to pass laws on IVF.
The law approved on Thursday makes IVF available to married and unmarried couples, but only after all other methods are exhausted or deemed inadequate.
All of the main opposition party Law and Justice’s lawmakers opposed the bill. The socially conservative party, led by former prime minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, is currently leading in polls, supported by around 30 percent of the voters. –Reuters