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Poland split over IVF

Reproductive rights roil Polish politics.

In Poland, such controversial questions rarely rise to the level of public political debate. One example is the abortion law: It is one of the most restrictive in Europe, and the rate of official abortions is tiny. However, the true rate must be fairly high because Poland has a declining population, with only 1.28 births per woman — one of the lowest rates in Europe. All attempts to shift the status quo on abortion have been unsuccessful.

The prospect of entering into a damaging ideological battle over in vitro fertilization at a time when he is trying to deal with an economic crisis prompted Tusk last week to back away from introducing any legislation until possibly this fall.

But now that it has caught the scent of an issue that could shake the government’s popularity, the opposition is preparing to strike.

The ex-communist Democratic Left Alliance is still keen to pass liberal legislation, while Law and Justice is speeding up work on its own legislation that would ban all in vitro treatments, only allowing for the use of embryos that have already been frozen in past procedures.

“Because [Civic] Platform has been playing around with this project for a long time, we have to propose our own legislative solution,” said Boleslaw Piecha, the Law and Justice parliamentarian pushing the issue.

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