Europe Struggles with Legalizing Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Allen, John L., Jr., National Catholic Reporter
Foreign ministers from European Union nations approved a motion in Brussels in late July that finances embryonic stem cell research for the period 2007-2013, over strong opposition from staunchly Catholic nations such as Poland and Malta. The Vatican quickly condemned the measure as "macabre."
The measure has two strings attached: First, the funding cannot be used for research to clone human beings; second, embryos cannot be created for the purpose of being destroyed for research.
According to its promoters, the measure would allow funding only for research on already existing "surplus" embryos generated as part of artificial fertility procedures, which would otherwise be destroyed.
Once this restriction was added, Luxembourg and Slovenia dropped their objections. Poland, Lithuania, Malta, Slovakia and Austria refused to sign the agreement, insisting that no such research will be carried out within their borders regardless of the availability of EU funds.
Critics of the agreement called upon Catholic members of Italy's center-left coalition government to rebel, hoping that prominent Catholics such as Paola Binetti, a senator and Opus Dei member, would press the government to fall back in line with Poland and the other European nations backing an absolute ban. …