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Deputy PM defends Catholics after 'irrational' slur

Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson yesterday repudiating Wednesday's comments by research head Professor Alan Trounson that Catholic ethicists are "irrational hypocrites" in opposing the use of excess IVF embryos for medical research.

Attacking opponents of the research in general, and the Catholic Church in particular, Trounson told the Australian stem-cell summit in Melbourne that he has "never been approached by a Catholic priest to undertake any form of burial of embryos that are being discarded".

Mr Anderson castigated Professor Trounson, insisting that legislators - not scientists - were the right people to set boundaries on their research. "As far as I am concerned, the tighter the better," the National Party leader told The Australian.

Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson has taken on the Prime Minister over stem-cell research, publicly opening a division in cabinet and heralding an intense debate before parliament resumes in three weeks.

The Deputy Prime Minister was stung into action by the comments of embryonic stem-cell research proponent Alan Trounson, who this week labelled ethicists and Catholics "irrational hypocrites" over the use of excess IVF embryos.

Mr Anderson, who said he wasn't a Catholic, rejected Professor Trounson's attack on Catholics, saying the leading researcher "cannot mount a cogent moral argument and leaves me more convinced than ever that the nation's legislators acting on behalf of the community must set the boundaries for such research".

IVF researcher calls Catholics 'irrational' (1/8/02)

The Australian

2 Aug 2002