Ethics debate also on the island

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has defended his government's plans for human embryonic stem cell research against criticism. Brown wrote in the London Sunday newspaper "The Observer" immediately before a new parliamentary vote on the planned liberalization of the law that he had great respect for all those who had reservations about parts of the bill out of religious conviction. Britain, however, the head of government affirmed, must retain its role at the forefront of this research.

This Monday and Tuesday, members of the British House of Commons will once again debate and vote on individual parts of the amended Embryo Act. Among other things, the bill would allow the creation of human-animal embryos for research purposes, allow artificial insemination for lesbian women and shorten the current legal time limit for abortion. Only on Thursday, MPs in the House of Commons had voted in favor of further consideration of the bill in Parliament by 262 votes in favor and 78 against.

Bishops: Research limited to adult stem cells

For the first time, scientists, ethicists and bishops discussed the possibilities and limits of embryonic stem cell research in London at the end of last week. London Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, and Archbishop Peter Smith of Cardiff, who is responsible for this area in the bishops' conference, appealed to scientists to limit themselves to research with adult stem cells during the debate broadcast on BBC radio late Saturday night. This does not require "recreating and then destroying human life" or "mixing human and animal life," both argued.Smith also advocated the establishment of a national bioethics commission. He attested to the participants in the roundtable for having "constructively" explored what it means to be human. Colin Blakemore, a neurobiologist at Oxford University, advocated "building bridges between theology and science" on this ie.

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