Skip to comments.Minister roils Italy on stem cell research (Removed block to EU plans for funding ESC research.)
Posted on 06/03/2006 6:18:37 PM PDT by neverdem
ROME -- Italy's new research minister has touched off a political storm in this Roman Catholic country by saying he was open to embryonic stem cell research.
The fuss began when University and Research Minister Fabio Mussi - a left-wing lawmaker from a former Communist Party - said during a visit to Brussels this week that he had removed Italy's signature from a "declaration of ethics" objecting to using European Union funds for embryonic stem cell research.
The declaration had allowed its seven signatories to block any EU plans for funding such research in countries that allow it. In Italy, stem cell research is illegal and is not affected by Mussi's decision.
"Let us stay open to dialogue on ethics, and let's not close the door on human hope," Mussi said, defending his position in a front-page commentary published Friday in the Rome daily La Repubblica.
On Saturday, Mussi received a high-profile boost from Rita Levi Montalcini, a senator-for-life in the Italian parliament who won the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1986.
"I am fully in agreement with Mussi's position to finally allow research on stem cells," the scientist said in an interview published in Milan daily Corriere della Sera.
Cells taken from human embryos are uniquely versatile, and many hope that one day they could help treat Alzheimer's, Type 1 diabetes, spinal cord injuries and other health problems.
Roman Catholic teaching opposes scientific research on human embryonic stem cells.
Church officials as well as conservative opposition members blasted Mussi's move, saying he had disregarded the feelings of most Italians.
Newly elected Premier Romano Prodi and many members of his center-left coalition have distanced themselves from Mussi's position.
Opposition politicians said the issue showed that Prodi's fractious coalition - whose parties range from Christian Democrats to Communists - could not agree, and that the premier could not control his ministers.
Former Premier Silvio Berlusconi's opposition party demanded that Prodi's government explain its stand on stem cells in Parliament.
The EU allows such research in cases where the stem cells came from embryos that otherwise would have been destroyed, EU spokesman Antonia Mochan said. Such research also must be approved by several committees, including an ethics board.
Seven countries signed the ethics declaration in November: Italy, Austria, Germany, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland and Slovakia. Italy's withdrawal means the other six now have insufficient votes for blocking any EU funding for research projects.
In the United States, the Bush administration has banned federal funding for research on stem cell lines developed after August 2001.
I wonder if these reporters purposely confuse the difference between embryonic stem cells and other stem cells? I do wish these reporters would be more honest by being more specific ... it appears they choose to create ambiguity because they favor exploitation of embryos.
This reporter used the term, "embryonic stem cell research," explicitly in the second paragraph.
The last paragraph: "In the United States, the Bush administration has banned federal funding for research on stem cell lines developed after August 2001."Notice anything missing from that line? It's deceptive writing. If true honesty was present, the writer could easily have used 'embryonic stem cells (ESC)' and then used the abbreviation thereafter, but instead the writer creates a confluence of 'stem cell' research programs to be jumbled together so the reader chooses to support stem cell research without differentiating between that which kills embryos and the other stem cell procedures.
I know the source is AP, but I find five paragraphs that the sources of the stem cells are embryonic: 1, 2, 7, 8 & 13. Four just use the term "stem cells": 3, 6, 12 & 15.
"Roman Catholic teaching opposes scientific research on human embryonic stem cells." # 8
Since it's Italy that we're talking about, and most folks who understand the issue, understand why the Catholic Church is opposed, I don't find the article disingenuous.
If it were a civil dispute where a preponderance of evidence settled the matter, I'm afraid to say it, but my interpretation would prevail. There's no contention over any other stem cells except embryonic.
IMHO, bumping a thread doesn't do anything. No one else is bothering the thread. That this thread was still sitting on the top of front page news the last time that I looked is surprising. That's where it gets some exposure.
This isn't a plus for the EU, just another reminder to folks that ratifying a European Constitution might not be such a smart idea.
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