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Church and Premiers on collision course over stem cells

A clash is looming between the Church and two state premiers over plans to use leftover human embryos from IVF programs for stem cell research.

Melbourne's Catholic Archbishop, Denis Hart, has launched a scathing attack on the State Government, saying its move to allow research on spare IVF embryos was like "cannibalising them for spare parts while still alive".

Meanwhile Queensland Bioethics Centre ethicist Ray Campbell told The Catholic Leader that embryonic ctem cell harvesting is an issue that goes to "the very heart of people's belief about the value of human life and the significance of our choices".

Mr Beattie said last week that he was prepared to go it alone and allow the use of embryos from IVF programs for stem cell research in Queensland. NSW Premier Bob Carr has indicated a similar position.

Prime Minister John Howard will meet state premiers next week to discuss the issue.

"We can only pray that by the grace of Easter our leaders will renounce the logic of darkness and death and support instead reverence for every human life from conception until natural death," Dr Hart said.

"Much is made of the fact that these embryos are going to die anyhow," said Mr Campbell. "Tragically, that is the case and we should be asking why we have allowed this situation to develop."

Catholic Leader/The Age

27 Mar 2002