Bulgarian Episcopate Hails Ban on Euthanasia and Cloning

SOFIA, Bulgaria, JUNE 23, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Apostolic Exarch Hristo Projkov, president of the Bulgarian episcopal conference, expressed satisfaction over Parliament’s approval of a health law that prohibits euthanasia and cloning.

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On June 2, after a week of intense debate, Bulgarian parliamentarians voted overwhelmingly against legalizing euthanasia. Of the 107 Members of Parliament, 93 favored maintaining the ban.

Likewise, the debate on cloning, which closed June 8, ended with a ban on cloning for reproductive purposes, including the donation of cells and tissues.

Amendments to the Health Act allow reproductive cells, which originally had not been used for reproduction, to be exchanged for medical purposes in Bulgaria and abroad, the Sofia News Agency reported.

Those cells will be used only and exclusively for scientific, medical and educational purposes, with prior consent by donors and following a strict procedure approved by the health minister.

«The Parliament has taken a serious step, and I must say that many deputies share the defense of life from conception until the last moment,» the Byzantine-rite bishop of Sofia told the Italian episcopate’s SIR agency.

The Bulgarian Orthodox Church expressed a similar position.

Bulgaria’s population of 8 million is composed of 83.5% Orthodox, 13% Muslim, 1.7% Catholic and 0.8% Jewish.

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