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Polish Church: better a bad IVF law than no law

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 29.05.2013 09:12
Polish Episcopate leader Archbishop Jozef Michalik has said there is a need for compromise over IVF, signalling a shift in the Church's position on what is a highly divisive issue in Poland.

Archbishop Michalik: wikipedia

The archbishop has told the Rzeczpospolita daily that “in the current political situation, it is necessary to look for some form of understanding.

“After all, today we are still in the worst legal position, because we don't have one,” he said.

Last October, Prime Minister Donald Tusk's centre-right government found a loophole in the law that paved the way for state funding of IVF, without having to bring a bill through parliament.

This was done by classifying IVF as an ordinary medical procedure such as a tonsillectomy, and Tusk haspromised treatment for 15,000 couples over a three-year period.

Divisions within Tusk's own party had stalled earlier draft legislation, while Jaroslaw Kaczynski, head of the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, had said that “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.”

Archbishop Michalik has acknowledged that for many of his generation IVF, is “very fresh” territory.

“We are all learning about this. When I was doing my seminary studies, nothing was said about this, no one thought of it,” he reflected.

“Medicine has boomed in recent years,” he added.

However, the archbishop reaffirmed that the Church is especially concerned with protecting embryos created at clinics during IVF treatment.

Michalik said that if an eventual law is passed that protects embryos stored in clinics, the Church would “receive this news with a note of hope.”

Last week, Health Minister Bartosz Arlukowicz revealed that the government aims to sign contracts by 1 July over which institutions take part in the current programme.

He also insisted that the government ultimately does intend to pass a law on IVF. (nh/pg)

tags: Church, IVF
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