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Battle for embryo stem cells resumes


Australia's Catholic bishops are campaigning to prevent the lifting of a partial ban on human embryos being used for stem cell research, with the Federal Government set to review laws permitting experimentation on embryos created through IVF before April 2002.

The Catholic Leader reports that the sunset clause, which prevents researchers using embryos created through IVF after April 2002, expires on April 5 but a report on the review of the legislation is not due until the end of the year.

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference chairman, Archbishop Francis Carroll of Canberra and Goulburn, wrote to the minister responsible for the legislation - Julie Bishop - in December, to either have the review before April or extend the ban on the availability of embryos until after the report was received.

The archbishop is yet to receive a reply.

ACBC research director Peter McArdle told the Leader that he and the bishops had been doing a lot of behind the scenes lobbying on the review and extending the ban.

The Federal Government has sought agreement from the Premiers and Chief Ministers to extend the ban.

Cardinal George Pell has publicly called for a national ban on embryonic stem cell research.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported on 11 February that Cardinal Pell was willing to lobby for a national ban on embryonic stem cell research.

"If I thought it would help I would be prepared to speak," Cardinal Pell said. "We are not in favour of producing human beings to destroy them for scientific purposes."

Sydney Archdiocesan Life Office director, Dr Bridget Vout, said the office would be lobbying on the issue and would launch an education program.

SOURCE
Battle for embryo stem cells resumes (Catholic Leader 27/2/05)

LINKS
Life Office, Archdiocese of Sydney
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference
Julie Bishop
Embryo research targeted by Pell (Sydney Morning Herald 112/05)

ARCHIVE
Pell push for ban on use of leftover embryos (CathNews 11/2/05)
Perth Archbishop calls for unity on morals (CathNews 4/1/05)
Catholic ethicist rejects use of hybrid embryos (CathNews 28/10/04)
Ethicist stresses moral inviolability of embryonic stem cells (CathNews 5/10/04)

MORE STORIES
Cloning research contrary to human dignity (AsiaNews.it 26/2/05)
The tough life, before one enters the real world (The Age 28/2/05)

28 Feb 2005