Poland's new coalition Government has initiated the debate to reinstate public funding for IVF, in the first weeks of the new parliamentry session.
It is considered a symbolic move after the conservative Law and Justice party, which had removed state funding soon after taking power in 2015 (see BioNews 831), lost legislative control following last month's parliamentary election. Last year the Polish Government led by the Law and Justice party became embroiled in a row over a passage in a school text book was deemed to dehumanise children born using IVF (see BioNews 1156).
'The reinstatement of IVF funding is the first decision of the democratic majority,' said one of its lawmakers, Agnieszka Pomaska of the liberal Civic Coalition, the biggest group within the opposition coalition.
The first debate over IVF funding took place on 22 November after a coalition of the opposition parties was formed on 10 November, at the start of Poland's new parliamentary session. The agreement signed between the parties pledged to relax the near total ban on abortion in the country, as well as to bring back state IVF funding, among other policies. The attack on reproductive rights by the former Government was deemed to play a key role in the significant turnout seen in Polish elections in October.
The debate to reinstate IVF funding is seen as a move towards 'social justice' which the least wealthy families had been deprived of due to the IVF bill ban. Barbara Nowacka, one of the Civic Coalition's leaders commented: 'You took away the right to happiness, the right to have a child from the poorest Polish families.'
MPs from other parties of the new coalition government support the bill. Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz and Wioletta Barbara Tomczak from the centre-right Third Way alliance agreed that assisted conception technologies should be available 'regardless of the level of wealth' reported Polskie Radio.
A member of the Law and Justice party, Józefa Szczurek-Żelazko, commented that the bill should be 'made more specific' and recommended its further consideration. Additionally, an aide to Polish President Andrzej Duda, previously a member of Law and Justice, said that the President is unlikely to use his veto power against the reinstatement of state funding for IVF.
Initial discussions on a reproductive health bill began in Poland in 2010, and the bill had eventually been passed by the Polish government, then led by the Civic Platform party, in June 2015 (see BioNews 808). However, Civic Platform lost the parliamentary elections to the conservative Law and Justice party in October 2015, who then withdrew the bill and cancelled all funding (see BioNews 1160).