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Archbishop warns against using aborted foetuses

The proposed use of aborted foetal tissue to aid the culture of embryonic stem cells is a "dangerous link between two immoral activities", Adelaide's Archbishop Philip Wilson has warned.

Archbishop Wilson was commenting on Professor Alan Trounson's declaration that tissues from aborted human foetuses will be used for the first time in Australia if the creation of new stem-cell lines is approved.

Archbishop Wilson said it is morally wrong to use the product of 90,000 abortions in Australia to further the cause of embryonic stem cell research.

"Respect for human life is already diminished in our society and if abortion is linked to this process and to profit, it's one more step towards reducing the respect for human life to zero," Archbishop Wilson said.

"Before we even get to a vote in Federal Parliament, Professor Trounson is talking about doing exactly what we claimed would happen - that aborted foetuses would be used as suppliers of tissues which could be used in stem cell research."

Archbishop Wilson has urged politicians to vote against legislation which will allow destructive research on so-called surplus IVF embryos for a wide range of purposes, only one of which was the extraction of stem cells.

Meanwhile Southern Cross Bioethics Institute director Dr John Fleming called on Professor Trounson to indicate the method of abortion which would be used to procure foetuses for use in stem cell research.

Dr Fleming said most first trimester abortions were done by vacuum aspiration which would render the foetus useless as a bed of tissue on which embryonic stem cells could be cultivated.

Southern Cross Bioethics Institute

Southern Cross

5 Sep 2002