WARSAW, Poland, October 23, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Poland’s government unveiled plans on Monday to foot the bill for both married and unmarried women to have children through in vitro fertilization (IVF). This comes despite strong opposition from the country’s Catholic bishops who have threatened to excommunicate politicians who publicly support IVF.
Prime Minister Donald Tusk said that the country’s Health Ministry would finance the procedure, in which a child is created by uniting a sperm and an egg in a petri dish, for 15,000 couples as of July 2013.
“Reimbursement for in vitro will be provided to couples — and not only married ones — who can prove that they have been trying unsuccessfully to have a baby for a year,” Tusk told journalists, according to the Warsaw Voice.
Government funding of IVF in Poland has been opposed by the country’s Catholic bishops, the opposition party, and a group of 100 polish scientists.
The Catholic Church describes IVF as “gravely immoral,” arguing that the invasive procedure harms marriage by separating procreation from sex, and condemning the fact that it typically involves the creation and destruction of “extra” embryos.
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A 2010 letter from the Conference of the Polish Episcopate stated, “for one child to be born [through IVF], death is caused to many human beings at various stages of the medical procedure.”
The letter also argued that IVF “always brings harmful social consequences, and is especially detrimental to children coming into the world as a result of actions by third parties.”
“It also introduces confusion in family relationships and contributes to undermining the foundations of social life.”
Archbishop Henryk Hoser said at the time that MPs caught supporting IVF would “find themselves automatically outside the community of the Church”.
“A child must be conceived in a natural way,” he said.
Reverend Jozef Kloch, spokesman for the Polish Episcopate, said that the government’s IVF plan does nothing to “eliminat[e] a broader problem of infertility,” according to Reuters.
The conservative opposition party Law and Justice (PiS) has condemned the plan as a violation of religious doctrine. The party pushed for an outright ban on the procedure earlier this year.
“As a Catholic, I oppose the use of genetic engineering in this process,” said Joachim Brudzinski, a prominent Law and Justice politician.
A group of 100 Polish scientists were dismayed by the IVF plan after issuing a document urging the government to pursue NaProTechnology as an ethically acceptable and highly successful method of treating infertility.
“NaProTechnology does not involve the destruction of conceived human beings, nor the violation of the dignity of a husband, wife nor their conceived child, and it observes the ecological principles of procreation,” the scientists wrote.
The scientists pointed out that when compared to the in vitro procedure, “NaProTechnology is more effective and several times less expensive.”
The country that produced pro-life icon Pope John Paul II has a population that is 90% baptized Catholic.
An instruction on respecting human life written under the late pontiff’s watch emphasizes that a child “is not an object to which one has a right…: rather, a child is a gift, ‘the supreme gift’ and the most gratuitous gift of marriage.”
“For this reason, the child has the right … to be the fruit of the specific act of the conjugal love of his parents,” the instruction states.