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Archbishop Pell expresses concern over stem cells

The move to introduce stem-cell research has set us on the ``slippery slope'' of morality, Catholic Archbishop George Pell said yesterday.

``I think the agreement between the Prime Minister and the premiers could have been much worse, but it's a victory of pragmatism over principle,'' he said. ``We're well launched on the slippery slope and there's nothing entirely clear for many just what principles we can call upon to stop us sliding further.''

Meanwhile Ageing Minister Kevin Andrews vowed to support proper debate on legislation allowing embryonic stem cell research despite being opposed to the process.

Described as a "devout Catholic", Mr Andrews was chairman of a parliamentary committee which examined the issue.
He was one of four members on the 10-member committee who objected to the use of surplus IVF embryos for stem cell research.

On Friday, the Commonwealth and states agreed on a proposal allowing the research, which could help find cures for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. Federal MPs will all be given a conscience vote on the legislation, which Prime Minister John Howard wants pushed through Parliament by the end of June.

Daily Telegraph/Daily Telegraph (payment required)

8 Apr 2002