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Superman star attacks church over embryonic stem cell research

Superman star Christopher Reeve, who has been battling paralysis since a riding accident in 1995, has blamed the Catholic church and President Bush for obstructing medical research which might help him.

The actor told The Guardian yesterday that embryonic stem cell research could lead to ways of repairing damaged nervous systems like his own. But he said the Bush administration had outlawed the research after lobbying from the Catholic church.

He said: "If we'd had full government support, full government funding for aggressive research using embryonic stem cells from the moment they were first isolated, at the University of Wisconsin in the winter of 1998 - I don't think it unreasonable to speculate that we might be in human trials by now."

Reeve, who is paralysed from the neck down, currently spends $A759,760 a year on round-the-clock medical care.

After his fall from a horse he vowed he would be back on his feet by the time he was 50 - but that is just a week away. He has managed to regain some movement in his hands and feet, but is still almost totally paralysed.

The actor is now supporting a bill that would enable therapeutic cloning while penalising those who carried out reproductive cloning.

"I think we could have been much further along with scientific research than we actually are," he said.

Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation

Independent Catholic News | photo

18 Sep 2002