France: The Senate authorizes human embryo research

Source: FSSPX News

Bishop Pierre d’Ornellas.

In the night of December 4 – 5, 2012, senators passed an amendment to the law of July 7, 2011, on bioethics. Under certain conditions, embryo and embryonic stem cell research is now legal. The Senate’s website quotes the amendment: “embryonic stem cell research gives hope; researchers have long been interested in stem cells because of their considerable therapeutic potential.” The amendment calls for the current legal ban on embryonic stem cell research to be lifted, even it allowed for multiple exemptions, and for permission for “supervised” research.

On behalf of the French bishops’ conference, Archbishop Pierre d’Ornellas of Rennes strongly criticized the amendment. In a press release dated December 5, the Archbishop asked, “Does the life of the human embryo deserve protection? Yes or no? The Senate has answered in the negative. The Senate is aware that such research constitutes an ‘anthropological transgression’, but it has nonetheless voted to authorize human embryo research, in principle and no longer only in exceptional cases.”  The Archbishop states that “the motive cited, that France might lag behind other nations in scientific research, is dubious. Does the progress of French research really depend on this authorization? The human embryo has a right to protection.”

The bishops of France consider the Senate’s decision “shocking”—all the more so since the amendment was proposed and voted on without any real debate, while article 46 of the 2011 law on bioethics stated that “any proposed reform related to ethical problems and social issues raised by the progress of knowledge in the fields of biology, medicine and health must be preceded by a public debate involving people from every stratum.”

The amendment, which has not yet been submitted to the National Assembly, was passed thanks in part to votes from right-wing senators.

(Sources: – – – DICI no. 267, 21/12/12)

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