Cathcon translation of
Stammzellgesetz: Katholische Bischöfe kontra EKD-Ratsvorsitzenden
The Parliament will determine on 11 April how research on embryos - people in the earliest stages of life- will be continued. Currently, only embryos can be imported into Germany which were created abroad before 1 January 2002. This deadline regime should prevent embryos being produced and killed for research purposes. Some German politicians want to repeal the deadline; others want it to be changed to 1 May 2007. Two other suggestions call for the conservation or an outright ban on the import of embryonic stem cells. Scientists hope to use the stem cell research to find new ways to cure major diseases. Therapies using embryonic stem cells however, have so far not been developed. The EKD president calls for a one-time postponement of the deadline. This was criticised by the Head of the Commission for Bioethics of the Catholic German Bishops' Conference, Bishop Gebhard Fürst (Rottenburg-Stuttgart). Huber accepts a graded protection of human life, he told the newspaper Passauer Neue Presse. " For Huber, embryos in a test tube appears to have a lower status, so that they need less protection than embryos in the womb. "I cannot understand this in good conscience," said Fürst. The Bishop advocated an end to research using embryonic stem cells.
Strain for the Ecumenical Church Conference ?
The Catholic Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller (Regensburg) responsible for ecumenical matters accused Huber of straining the growing trust between the churches. This would possibly be seen at the Ecumenical Church Conference 2010 in Munich. Huber, however, could not speak for all Protestants, as there is no Protestant teaching office. His opinion was even within Protestant circles highly controversial.
Alienation between the Catholic Church and the CDU (German Christian Democrats)
Fürst and Müller also criticise Federal Research Minister Annette Schavan (CDU), for a postponement of the deadline. The politician was from 1994 to 2005, Vice President of the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK). According to Fürst, the attitude of Schavan and some other CDU members of Parliament for Bioethics caused "a certain alienation" between the CDU and the Catholic Church: "In these matters we are closer to the Greens than the CDU."
Member of the European Parliament: "propaganda fairyland"
Meanwhile, the CDU MEP and chairman of the Bioethics Working Group EPP-Group, Peter Liese (Brussels) warned of negative international consequences of a change in German law on stem cell research. Many states modelled themselves on Germany. The US Congress often refers to the strict German rules when it discusses reproductive medicine and embryo protection. Liese endorsed ethically safe research on adult stem cells, which had made treatable 73 life threatening diseases.
The argument that using embryonic stem cells could cure diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's or cancer, the doctor described as a "propaganda fairytale of the proponents of a research without ethical limits."