Polish academic sued over alleged vilification of IVF babies

By Grzegorz Adamczyk
2 Min Read

The trial in the case brought against Prof. Wojciech Roszkowski began on Tuesday in Kraków. A family of a child born via IVF treatment is suing the professor for a passage in a history textbook written by him, which they feel demonizes children born through IVF treatment. 

The textbook is for a new subject, History and the Present, introduced to high school students in Poland last year.

In the textbook, Prof. Roszkowski raises the issue of whether the state should be “producing children,” who may then be deprived of the parental love that every child needs. The plaintiffs argue that this passage could harm IVF kids reading it, as they would feel that they were not loved. The publisher has since removed the controversial passage from the textbook.

Roszkowski’s attorney argued that there is no legal basis for the lawsuit since the textbook did not actually mention IVF treatment as such, only that the state “producing” children might cause problems for them. 

Prof. Roszkowski himself argues that he was expressing his concern over the fate of unborn children and genetic engineering that was affecting such rights.

The trial of Roszkowski is being adjudicated by a judge who has been highly active in opposing the government and its judicial reform. Justice Waldemar Żurek is also a well-known critic of the judicial reform of the United Right.

Roszkowski’s attorney has objected to the case being adjudicated by Justice Żurek because the attorney is involved in a legal dispute with the judge, which has still to be settled. This fact could prejudice the judgment that Żurek will have to make. 

The Association of Polish Journalists (SDP) said on Tuesday that it is monitoring the case from a freedom of speech point of view. It feels that the professor is being accused of something he did not write and his right to self-expression is thus being violated. 

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