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21 March 2008

Cardinal O'Brien Condemns "Monstrous" Embryo Research

A leading Roman Catholic churchman, Cardinal Keith O'Brien has launched an attack on Prime Minister Gordon Brown over plans to allow hybrid human-animal embryos.

The leader of the Catholic Church in Britain will use his Easter Sermon to attack controversial proposals to permit scientists to create the hybrid embryos for research.

Supporters of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill believe embryos could hold the answer to cures of diseases including multiples sclerosis and Alzheimer's disease.

In his sermon, which was released in advance, Cardinal O'Brien said: "This Bill represents a monstrous attack on human rights, human dignity and human life.

"In some European countries one could be jailed for doing what we intend to make legal.

"I can say that the Government has no mandate for these changes for these changes: they were not in any election manifesto, nor do they enjoy widespread public support.

"One might say that in our country we are about to have a public Government endorsement of experiments of Frankenstein proportion - without many people really being aware of what is going on."

Cardinal O'Brien has written to Mr Brown to call for the establishment of a 'single permanent national bioethics commission' as this would be the only way the issue could be 'adequately discussed'.

(DS)







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