German Bishops Oppose Importation of Embryonic Stem Cells

BERLIN, JAN. 23, 2001 ( The importation of embryonic stem cells for scientific research is ethically inadmissible, say Germany´s Catholic bishops.

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A statement issued by the bishops´ Permanent Council calls on parliamentarians to pronounce themselves in favor of the defense of human life on Jan. 30 when the Bundestag decides on the matter.

The document was issued after Cardinal Karl Lehmann, president of the German episcopal conference, and Manfred Kock, president of the Council of Evangelical Churches, expressed in an open letter their opposition to scientific research with embryonic stem cells.

The bishops thank the parliamentarians ahead of time for keeping in mind the «ethical frontiers» during the debate, as experimentation with embryos is an attack on human dignity.

«The importation of embryonic stem cells accepts, in fact, the killing of people in the embryonic stage, and this is in fundamental opposition to Christian ethics,» the bishops said.

If this possibility is approved, the door would be opened to «much less restrictive laws on the matter,» the bishops concluded.

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