Briefs: EU Constitution, South Korea Hospital, Cow Cloning

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 6, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC Briefs: EU Constitution, South Korea Hospital, Cow Cloning Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 6, 2005

Failure of European Union Constitution Helpful to Pro-Life Cause
Brussels, Belgium ( — The proposed European Union constitution drew significant opposition from pro-life groups across Europe and its failure to gain support is no loss, they say. Some EU nations such as Ireland, Poland and Malta have strong pro-life laws and leaders of those nations fear that a pro-abortion EU constitution could have placed them in jeopardy. But that may not happen thanks to votes by French and Dutch voters. As a result, its language could be renegotiated, or it could be replaced by a less ambitious agreement. "While there is no specific reference to so-called ‘abortion rights’ in the now-dead European constitution, the right to life of the unborn was seriously threatened because the constitution had an ambiguous definition regarding ‘human dignity’ and ‘physical and mental integrity’ that could be interpreted by the courts as to the right to abort those considered ‘non-persons,’" says Silvio Dalla Valle, president of the Italian pro-life group I Want to Live. Though he believes the constitution is dead for years, he wants a pro-life provision in a next version, if its proposed.

South Korean Company Plans Hospital for Stem Cell Research Therapies
Seoul, South Korea ( —
South Korean medical company Histostem Co Ltd plans to open the world’s first hospital that exclusively uses medical treatments derived from stem cell research. The therapies will be those that have resulted from stem cells obtained from umbilical cord blood because embryonic stem cells have yet to yield any cures or treatments.The firm said it is close to a final agreement with an unnamed European investment company to set up the hospital in the southern resort island of Jeju in the first half of 2007. Han Hoon, the doctor who heads Histostem, and his researchers have carried out more than 250 umbilical cord blood stem cell treatments since July 2003, including cases of spinal cord injuries, liver cirrhosis, Buerger’s disease, diabetes, chronic renal failure and a dozen other diseases.

Pope Benedict XVI Delivers Speech Criticizing Abortion
Vatican City ( —
Pope Benedict XVI delivered a strongly worded speech on Monday criticizing abortion. Addressing a conference on the family in Rome, the pope said abortion was "against human love, and the profound vocation of men and women" to contemplate not having children, "and even more so to suppress or to tamper with a life being born." He has taken a strong stand against abortion, euthanasia and embryonic stem cell research since replacing Pope John Paul II following the former pontiff’s death.

Rick Santorum Touts Pro-Life View on Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Washington, DC ( —
Opinion columnist Tim Chapman reports that Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Rick Santorum took a strong stance against embryonic stem cell research in a recent meeting of Republican leaders in the Senate on upcoming votes on the controversial topic. As senators decided which of several bills on the research will receive floor votes, senators asked Republican staff members in the room for opinions on reaction from pro-life groups, but Santorum jumped in to field the questions. "At one point, discussions became somewhat contentious when Santorum found himself sticking up for pro-life activists to a colleague who questioned the rationality of the movement’s decision-making process on this legislation," Chapman wrote. "Santorum, according to the aide, fundamentally disagreed with the notion that the pro-life base was too impassioned to come to a sound conclusion on the issue." “It was as if the pro-life base had one of their own in the meeting,” said the aide.

Scientists Use "Cow Cloning" to Develop Medical Treatments
Madison, WI ( —
Scientists at Advanced Cell Technology in Worcester, Massachusetts published a paper that appears in the June issue of Cloning and Stem Cells discussing its cow cloning techniques. The experiment involved creating an embryo that was a genetic clone of the "parent" cow. Researchers then removed stem cells from the cloned embryo and administered those cells back to the original "parent" cow. Some researchers want to use the same cloning process to clone humans to conduct embryonic stem cell research. Pro-life groups oppose that technique. Susan Armacost of Wisconsin Right to Life said her organization has no position on animal cloning, but opposes cloning human embryos. "Manufacturing them for research is wrong," she said.