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Thursday, March 23, 2017
Bishops express dismay at EU support for human embryo research
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¬†On 19 November 2003, the European Parliament called for the EU to fund research using human embryonic stem cells and involving the destruction of human embryos under the Sixth EU Research Framework Programme. Mgr Noel Treanor, Secretary General of the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community (COMECE), made the following statement: We are deeply concerned by the European Parliament's proposal to allow EU funding for research that will involve the destruction of human embryos. The Parliament's proposal would weaken the Commission's proposed ethical guidelines on EU funding for human embryonic stem-cell research. As we have previously stated, such research raises fundamental moral problems For this reason, several EU Member States do not permit it under their own legislation and are opposed to the allocation of funds for it from the common EU budget. The European Parliament itself was divided on the issue, and a significant number of MEPs voted either to exclude funding for all research on human embryonic stem cells or at least to tighten the ethical guidelines in order to avoid the further destruction of human embryos. The proposal, adopted by 291 votes to 235 with 12 abstentions, would remove the condition proposed by the Commission that only human embryos created after the cut-off date of 27 June 2002 could be used ≠ and therefore destroyed ≠ in order to obtain the embryonic stem cells. This would raise the troubling possibility of indirect incentives for the creation of human embryos in order to obtain new embryonic stem cells for EU-funded research. In our view, every human life begins at conception and must not be violated, whatever the hoped-for benefits. We therefore remain opposed in principle to the destruction of any human embryo in order to obtain embryonic stem cells. We urge the Council of Ministers not to approve the use of EU funds for research that involves the destruction of human embryos. It should be noted that the Parliament's opinion, adopted under the consultation procedure, is not binding on the Council. We also restate our support for scientific research in general, and for research using adult stem cells in particular. The Council of Ministers of the European Union is expected to take a final decision on the ethical guidelines at a meeting in Brussels due to take place on 27 November 2003.
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