Catholic News - Catholic Telecommunications, a devision of Catholic Resources





First embryonic stem cells produced in Australia/New charity laws passed

Two other significant local stories to end: (i) A Sydney fertility clinic has announced the production of the first human embryonic stem cells. (ii) The Senate has passed legislation allowing child care groups, self-help bodies and some religious orders to qualify as charities.

The Sydney Morning Herald and other media are reporting on the controversial stem cell development.

The paper says: "Human stem cells have for the first time been obtained from an Australian embryo."

"The controversial achievement has been made by scientists at a Sydney fertility clinic, Sydney IVF, using a surplus embryo donated by a Sydney couple who had undergone IVF treatment."

"Human embryonic stem cells can turn into any type of body tissue and doctors hope they will eventually revolutionise treatments for spinal cord injuries and diseases such as juvenile diabetes and Parkinson's."

"However, moral concerns have been raised because their extraction involves the destruction of embryos that are just days old."

In Melbourne The Age newspaper reports:

New laws allowing child care groups, self-help bodies and some religious orders to qualify as charities have been passed in the Senate.

Assistant Treasurer Helen Coonan (NSW, LP) said the Extension of Charitable Purpose Bill was a statutory extension of common law which allowed such groups to apply for tax relief.

"The concessions in the commonwealth legislation...include income tax and fringe benefit tax exemptions and certain capital gains tax concessions," Senator Coonan said.

SMH - Stem cell triumph opens door for cures
The Age - Charity laws extended

CathNews (26/03/03) - Melbourne Church warning on stem cell bill before State Parliament

24 Jun 2004