EU to continue embryo cell research funding

Despite opposition from several mostly Catholic countries, ministers from EU member states agreed to continue funding for embryonic stem cell research, although funding will be limited to research on cells which are already available.

According to Malta Media, while Austria, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovakia and Malta opposed to aspects of the research, scientists insist the cells are the key to treating diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

Germany led the opposing group of countries calling for restrictions on the funding of the research. German Research Minister Annette Schavan told fellow ministers "We must conserve human life from its conception. We want no financial incentives to kill embryos," before the decision was taken.

The countries in favour of research on embryonic stem cells include Belgium, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

The current rules for EU-funded research stipulate that stem cells can be derived from embryos if they have been produced during fertility treatment and are destined to be destroyed.

In June Bishop of Malta Joseph Mercieca and Bishop of Gozo Mario Grech along with the Bishops members of the Commission of the Bishops Conferences of the European Community, expressed dismayed with the European Parliament's decision to ask the European Union to fund human embryos and human embryonic stem cells research.

EU will continue to fund embryo cell research (Malta Media 24/7/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Stem Cells (European Union)

Premiers face stem cell backlash as Hart criticises debate (CathNews, 24/7/06)
Catholics divided over stem cells (CathNews, 14/7/06)

25 Jul 2006