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PM's IVF programme highlights rupture in ruling party

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 23.10.2012 12:19
Poland's Justice Minister has said he was “surprised” by the Prime Minister's announcement of a state-funded programme for in vitro fertilisation that avoids changing existing laws.

Justice Minister Jaroslaw Gowin (L) and Prime Minister Donald Tusk (R) on Tuesday: photo - PAP/Radek Pietruszka

“The prime minister took me by surprise, as he had not informed me that he was preparing such a programme with the Minister of Health,” Jaroslaw Gowin told television news channel TVN24, adding that he was “not delighted with the solution.”

Prime Minister Donald Tusk's programme promises to reach 15,000 couples – both married and unmarried - over the next three years.

Tusk's Civic Platform party, the dominant force in Poland's current coalition government, had been preparing two draft bills on the matter, with Gowin creating the more conservative of the two.

By standardising IVF as an ordinary medical procedure such as a tonsillectomy, Tusk's initiative frees up funds for the treatment without having to pass a bill in parliament in the matter.

Gowin reaffirmed his belief that new laws should be passed regarding IVF, and drew attention to the fact that Tusk had stated yesterday that a bill would be brought forward, although not in the immediate future.

“At the moment, anything goes,” Gowin said.

“One can destroy embryos, trade them, you can make a selection of gender.”

Gowin's draft bill on IVF would only have allowed treatment for married women, but the PM's programme takes in all couples “who can prove that they have been trying unsuccessfully to have a baby for a year,” (women must be adults but below the age of 40).

Earlier this month, the government failed to throw out a draft bill that aimed at tightening Polish laws on abortion, owing to divisions in Civic Platform (the bill had been submitted by the minority Solidarity Poland Party).

Jaroslaw Gowin, who is considered a leader of a conservative faction in the party, was among those who abstained.

Meanwhile, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of Law and Justice, the largest opposition party in parliament, has disparaged Tusk's programme.

“As a man who listens to the church in these matters, I know that 15,000 in vitro procedures means a very, very large number of abortions,” he said, referring to Tusk's pledge to provide treatment for 15,000 couples over the next three years. (nh)

tags: IVF
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