Polish Catholic Group Wants IVF Outlawed

by VR Sreeraman on Sep 3 2009 12:57 PM

A draft law proposed by a group of Polish Roman Catholics aiming to criminalise in vitro fertilisation (IVF) will be tabled in parliament next week, a senior parliamentarian said Wednesday.

"The draft will no doubt spark strong emotions," Parliamentary speaker Bronislaw Komorowski told reporters in Warsaw.

The proposed legislation was drafted by the "Contra in vitro" Catholic citizen's group which gathered the required 160,000 signatures.

The draft calls for "all people whose actions lead to in vitro fertilisation" to be subject to a penalty of up to three years in prison.

Several draft laws on IVF have been tabled in parliament. The practice is still unregulated in Poland.

The issue has divided Polish politicians and Poland's powerful Roman Catholic church has categorically condemned IVF.

Polish bishops have termed IVF "a sophisticated form of abortion" as the method "causes numerous embryos to perish" with each attempt.

Archbishop Henryk Hoser has gone so far as to describe supporters of IVF as "moral schizophrenics."

After the 1989 collapse of communism in Poland, the Roman Catholic church lobbied for and succeeded in obtaining a ban on abortion, which is now punishable by up to two years in prison for anyone involved in an abortion except for the pregnant woman herself.

Abortion is permitted only in cases of rape, incest or severe birth defects. mc-mas/mrm/har