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Embryo research opponents look set to lose battle

A last-ditch attempt by opponents of human embryo research to scuttle groundbreaking legislation in the Senate is poised to fail, despite a renewed attack yesterday on Australia's most prominent researcher, Alan Trounson.

On the eve of the Senate commencing debate on proposed embryo research laws, a survey by The Australian shows at least 33 senators will support the legislation, and just 19 opposed to the bill.

Just over 20 senators, including frontbenchers from both major parties, are yet to make up their mind - or are maintaining a public silence.

But a number of undecided senators - and the Greens - are almost certain to endorse the bill, ensuring its success.

Health Minister Kay Patterson, a supporter of embryonic stem-cell research, was confident last night the legislation would receive majority support. "My feeling is that there will be," she said.

But Tasmanian independent senator Brian Harradine, perhaps the most passionate of opponents, said: "It is a defining moment in our history . . . that will pave the way for commodification and commercialisation of human embryos and, for the first time, create a biological underclass."

The Australian

Catholic Health calls for delay in embryo research bill (24/6/02)
Report on the ACBC & friends hearing before the Senate Thursday 27/9/02
Embryo cell row clouds PM's visit to Pope (26/6/02)
Moral theologian speaks out agains discarding embryos (27/9/02)
Shift to belief that life begins instantly (2/8/02)
IVF researcher apologises to Catholic for 'irrational' slur (5/8/02)
Catholic bishops call on PM to present all the facts on stem cells (23/5/02)

11 Nov 2002