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Premier to meet Melbourne Archbishop to resolve IVF impasse

Victorian Premier Steve Bracks will meet Melbourne's Catholic Archbishop, Denis Hart, after Easter in an attempt to resolve their heated dispute over the use of spare IVF embryos for research.

Mr Bracks yesterday hit back at Archbishop Hart's scathing criticism of the government, describing it as "incorrect and erroneous".

Defending the government's position, Mr Bracks said: "I think it's been misread and misjudged by some people in the Catholic Church."

On Tuesday, Mr Bracks foreshadowed legislation to overturn the ban on destroying embryos in Victoria. He also said he would support the use of spare IVF embryos for stem cell research at next week's Council of Australian Governments meeting.

The move prompted a furious response from Archbishop Hart, who said Mr Bracks was supporting a use of embryos that amounted to "cannibalising them for spare parts while still alive". He said Mr Bracks had been "spooked" by the IVF scientists' threats to move interstate to do their research.

The Age

28 Mar 2002