Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The EU vote on funding embryonic stem cell research

The EU voted to fund research on embryonic stem cells. Curiously, there was a provision against embryo destruction. The Times of Malta discussed this seeming inconsistency:

Competitiveness Minister Censu Galea argued that Malta had no problem with research making use of stem cells from naturally aborted embryos or cells deriving from blood chords, but it objected to research carried out on clone lines available on the market.

The German delegation accepted the final draft where a statement was included stating that the EU will not finance the destruction of human embryos.

But, at a press conference later, the Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potocknik, said that although the EU will not be funding such research itself, the destruction of the embryo was an inevitable phase in the process. It is simply that the EU will not be involved in that phase.

Asked specifically whether this was not a "fudged" solution, given that such research will ultimately involve the destruction of embryos, the commissioner said smilingly: "I don't know what you want me to say".

The position advocated by Malta was previously held by a larger voting block, including Germany and Italy.


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