Controversial passage on fertility removed from Polish school textbook

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The publisher of a new school textbook in Poland says it is removing a controversial passage that referred to human fertility.

The book titled “History and the Present” had been condemned by Poland’s opposition for a section on sexuality and childbearing.

According to critics, the passage suggested that children conceived using in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment would not be loved.

The father of a daughter born thanks to IVF launched an online appeal to try and block the book, raising over 280,000 zlotys (€60,000).

The publishing house, Bialy Kruk, said on Monday that it disagreed with the criticism and the “wrong interpretation” but that “taking into account the social good … we decided with the author to remove the controversial fragment from the textbook.”

Poland’s Education Ministry had defended the book and stated that only a mind “sick and mad with hatred” would interpret the passage that way.

The book has been added to a list of school materials in July in preparation for a new subject, called “history and the present,” which the conservative government is introducing this fall.

Critics view the textbook as part of a larger attempt to indoctrinate young people, given other passages on feminism and liberal movements.

Poland’s governing Law and Justice party (PiS) has close ties to the Roman Catholic church and regularly promotes conservative social policies.

Amid strict abortion laws, PiS has also ended a national programme that helped fund fertility treatments for couples.