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The Politics of Human Embryo Research in Poland
Södertörn University, School of Gender, Culture and History, Gender studies. Södertörn University, Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES).
2011 (English)In: Exploring Central and Eastern Europe’s Biotechnology Landscape / [ed] Robbins, Peter T. and Huzair, Farah, Dordrecht: Springer, 2011, 55-78 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In comparative surveys Poland is classified as a country where embryo research is prohibited. The starting point for this article is that such a classification is incorrect. It can be attributed to Poland’s fairly complex legal situation involving the concept of the “conceived child”, which has been the legal term for the embryo since the “war on abortion” in the 1990s and the lack of regulations concerning assisted reproductive technologies (ART). The aim of this study is to explain how the high moral and legal status of the embryo is compatible with the politics of non-decisions. The lack of regulations implies that Poland de facto functions as a country with a permissive policy design. In short, I argue that the abortion struggle has been decisive in forming the public sphere and established a hegemonic paradigm of “public morals,” thus hindering a policy-oriented discussion on bioethical dilemmas. This is compounded with a limited policy-making capacity, which makes it extremely difficult to decide on contentious issues and reinforces strategies of evading the issue altogether. This is particularly true within the biomedical policy field where specialized forms of expertise are required. An attempt to activate an “informed” discussion was made by the leftist government in 2004 enacting a so-called “societal consultation” on the use of human embryonic stem (ES) cells for research, which was triggered by Poland’s accession to the European Union. Although this consultation process was at least partly able to enhance communication between pro-lifers and research advocates, it was not able to find a compromise, which would make legislature more feasible.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Dordrecht: Springer, 2011. 55-78 p.
International library of ethics, law and technology, 9
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-13550ISBN: 978-90-481-9783-5 (print)OAI: diva2:460034
Available from: 2011-11-29 Created: 2011-11-29 Last updated: 2013-06-11Bibliographically approved

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Kulawik, Teresa
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Gender studiesCentre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES)
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