World Congress

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IVF in Poland. World Congress helps the Polish Federation for Women and Family Planning facing Church's prohibitionism

07/20/2010

Last June 30 the Polish Federation for Women and Family Planning held a press conference to challenge Church's prohibitionism on IVF. An open letter by Luca Coscioni Association and the Nonviolent Radical Party was read on that occasion. According to Luca Coscioni Association the right to health has no national barriers, since it is a fundamental and universal human right. To endorse this right in a concrete way our association together with the Nonviolent Radical Party, transnational and transparty campaigns at the United Nations, the European Parliament and worldwide. Polish version FROM Marco Cappato, former Member of the European Parliament and Secretary General of Luca Coscioni Association Marco Perduca, Senator of the Italian Parliament TO the Members of the Polish Parliament the Polish Members of the European Parliament OPEN LETTER Dear Colleagues, We are informed that the Polish Parliament is going to discuss some bills on fertility treatment that sound to be anyway restrictive and someway similar to the Italian Law 40/2004 that we as Luca Coscioni Association and Nonviolent Radical Party have been trying to amend since the beginning. In the framework of our “World Congress�? as a permanent forum of activities for freedom of scientific research and cure, we had already been urged by some Polish patients’ associations complaining that your bill might restrict citizens’ equality and potentially damage women’s health, as the Italian experience has proved to do and some recent Court’s sentences have acknowledged at last. Moreover, we have recently read that Poland's bishops condemned in vitro fertilization and supported its total ban. We are sure that you members of the Polish Parliament will decide in accordance with your Constitution whose authority we respect. Nonetheless we hope that the Italian experience may help you choosing more knowingly, being aware of a social movement addressing the abrogation of our law on assisted reproduction and its guidelines in Italy. At this link you can find a detailed dossier including some data but most importantly some cases of men and women testifying their own experiences of harm and damage due to Law 40. We are ready to fully support any Polish association which might require our advice and cooperation and any party willing to campaign with us for freedom of scientific research and self-determination of patients from all over the world. We remain at your disposal to discuss in-depth this matter. Should you need to audit some Italian couples we could also help you contacting them whose case-stories have been authorized and published on the website of Luca Coscioni Association. We wish you, dear colleagues, a good work for our common goal, that is the well-being and health of our citizens. Rome, April 6, 2010 List of first signatories: Marco Cappato, former Member of the European Parliament and Secretary General of Luca Coscioni Association Marco Perduca, Senator of the Italian Parliament Renate Weber, MEP ALDE Group Cecilia Wikstrom, MEP ALDE Group Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, MEP ALDE Group Jill Evans, MEP EFA Group Read the open letter to authorities and Church by Wanda Nowicka, President of the Federation for Women and Family Planning: Press conference: In Vitro, Church, Politics (30.06.2010) June 30 2010 OPEN LETTER TO AUTHORITIES On behalf of the Federation for Women and Family Planning I express my concern about and strong opposition to the increasing interference of the Catholic Church in the process of establishing law in Poland. For the last twenty years the Church has been putting stronger and stronger pressure on the politicians. It was a long time ago when this phenomenon went beyond the participation in public debates. The Church significantly contributed not only to introducing in Poland one of the most restrictive anti-abortion law in Europe, but it also makes the attempts to introduce sexual education classes to schools as well as improving access to modern contraception impossible, which is harmful for the society and is the source of bad reputation of Poland worldwide. However, the engagement of the Church in the discussion on infertility treatment, in particular the in vitro fertilization (IVF) being legally permissible has exceeded all limits. During religious celebrations the Church condemns the IVF in public, using words showing signs of intimidation. There is no single day without a Church committee expressing its opinion on IVF. Criticising and condemning the couples who, thanks to the IVF, have given birth to their child or wanted to use this method, frightening them with excommunication or depriving them of the possibility to participate in religious observances have exceeded all limits and are marked by moral blackmail. Expressing insulting opinions about children who were born thanks to the IVF method is simply immoral and could be the subject of litigation, if there was someone courageous enough to file a lawsuit. Finally, the constant pressure on politicians which aims at enforcing a legal solution contradictory to modern science, achievements of modern medicine and the social expectations does contravene the principle of the separation of the Church from the state. The Church bears the partial blame for decision-making paralysis in all worldview issues. The most of the blame is nevertheless borne by the politicians who, most often due to opportunist reasons, do not oppose to political claims of the Church and do introduce laws contradictory to universally accepted development trends (eg anti-abortion law, concordat, annexe to the EU accession treaty, leaving the worldview issues for national parliaments to decide), or bury their heads in the sand, putting off ad calendas graecas the introduction of the expected laws such as the law on gender equality, the law on civil partnership, or the law regulating the bioethical issues and infertility treatment with IVF method. Perception of their role in such a way by the politicians has to be ended. It is high time the politicians remembered about their duties towards the society and started establishing laws in accordance with the best standards and respect of the principle of the separation of the Church from the state. Poland does not constitute an enclave where there are different rules and principles than in the rest of Europe. Polish men and women expect the politicians to establish laws which would serve their essential interests and needs and not reflect religious principles unconnected with expectations, aspirations and life realities. We demand from the politicians to establish the good law according to the social expectations not the law established at the Church’s bidding. Currently, the IVF issue is the most urgent one. Before the Parliament establishes the law regulating the bioethical issues and treatment using the IVF method, we demand from the Minister of Health to introduce the refund for the treatment using the IVF method, which can be done even today under the binding Polish laws, not waiting for the final content of the law. We expect from the politicians, including the candidates for the President of the Republic of Poland, who during the campaign undertook obligations to regulate the IVF issue as soon as possible, to keep and fulfil their promises using their power. Wanda Nowicka President Federation for Women and Family Planning

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