Catholic Church puts pressure on Lithuanian MPs?

A fierce debate over the freezing of embryos for artificial insemination has broken out in Lithuania. The country's parliament banned the procedure last week. Commentators deplore the efforts of representatives of the Catholic Church to influence the parliamentarians. One MP, however, speaks up to defend his decision.

Open/close all quotes
Delfi (LT) /

Bishop's influence is madness

The liberal web portal Delfi is incensed that the Catholic Church influenced the parliament's decision:

“The bishop threatened the MPs with excommunication. Seriously! 2016 years after Christ's birth. Excommunication is expulsion from the Catholic Church. So all MPs who vote in favour of artificial insemination will be banished from the Church. For a law that helps couples unable to have children without the help of science. MP Urbšys warned his colleagues to vote as the Church has ordered them to. … With a face as serious as if he were Jesus on the cross. And this 27 years after the re-establishment of democracy and the rule of law in Lithuania.”

Bernardinai (LT) /

A decision of conscience

The conservative MP Egidijus Vareikis rejects accusations that his vote was influenced in any way by others on the Christian-conservative website Bernardinai:

“No priest, no bishop or clergyman called me wanting to talk about insemination or any other issue. I voted for the ban because I can read and understand it. Since the law also deals with medicine we must adhere to the Hippocratic Oath and not kill anyone. When I made my vote I was aware that some people want to have a kind of baby-to-order service in which you can have a human being artificially constructed while cynically destroying the undesired results of this experiment. … I hold the view that insemination is the start of a new life and that all human life has a right to continue existing without having to be available for somebody's 'scientific' purposes.”