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Vatican states its position on embryo research

Following questions after the Pope's statement at his Monday meeting with US President George W. Bush, the Vatican has issued a clarification indicating its opposition to the use of embryonic tissue in all cases.

Vatican Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls issued the clarification after journalists questioned the wording of the Pope's address to President Bush. The Holy Father had condemned "proposals for the creation for research purposes of human embryos."

The reporters asked whether the same condemnation would apply when the embryos were originally created for possible use in artificial fertilisation.

Quoting from the Holy Father's encyclical Evangelium Vitae, Navarro-Valls assured the press that it would: "'This moral condemnation also regards procedures that exploit living human embryos and fetuses - sometimes specifically 'produced' for this purpose by 'in vitro' fertilization - either to be used as 'biological material' or as 'providers of organs or tissue for transplants' in the treatment of certain diseases."

Whether or not the embryos were originally produced for research purposes, Navarro-Valls concluded, the exploitation of human lives cannot be morally justified. Also, the deliberate destruction of innocent human beings cannot be accepted, even if it is done for otherwise moral ends such as scientific research or medical treatment.

LINKS (L'Osservatore Romano)