Bishops Deplore Move

The Europarliament voted today in first reading on the 7th Research Framework Program and called for EU funding of research with human embryos and human embryonic stem cells.

Monsignor Noël Treanor, secretary-general of the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community (COMECE), stressed in a statement that "such research raises fundamental anthropological and ethical problems."

"Many people are uneasy about research manipulating human life and using it as a raw material," he noted. "This is not just a Catholic position.

"Scientifically, there is no reason to make a moral distinction between an embryo at the very beginning of his or her life and after implantation in the womb or after 14 days. Human dignity does not depend -- and must not be made dependent -- on decisions of other human beings."

The European Parliament expressed with a slim majority its support for EU funding of research with human embryonic and adult stem cells. The proposal of the Committee for Industry, Research and Energy was adopted by a vote of 284-249. There were 32 abstentions.

The European Parliament itself was divided on the issue, and a significant number of members voted either to exclude funding for all research on human embryos and human embryonic stem cells or at least to tighten the ethical guidelines in order to avoid the further destruction of human embryos.

The COMECE took advantage of the opportunity to renew its "support for the EU to finance research on adult stem cells."


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