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Bioethics expers says tissue harvest is complicity to abortion

An Adelaide Catholic bioethics expert has said a controversial proposal to harvest tissue from aborted foetuses and export it for medical experiments would involve "complicity in deliberate abortion".

"There is nothing in principle wrong with using the tissue of any dead human being, including a foetus, for therapeutic purposes," Southern Cross Bioethics Institute director Dr John Fleming admitted. "But the use of tissue from aborted foetuses will necessarily involve special care and treatment of the aborted foetus so that the tissue remains viable and so that it is delivered to the researcher in a timely manner."

"In other words the research project would involve complicity in deliberate abortion .. the deliberate killing of unborn babies."

Dr Fleming's comments followed a recent report in the Sydney Daily Telegraph that a Dutch bio-tech company, Crucell has applied to the ethics committee at Adelaide's Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) for access to foetal material.

While the QEH says that the application for the controversial plan has been withdrawn, and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has no knowledge of the plan, the media report says Crucell maintains that it is still proceeding.

Southern Cross

Southern Cross Bioethics Institute
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4 Jul 2003