Spain House Approves Assisted Fertility Measure Allowing Embryonic Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 16, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Spain House Approves Assisted Fertility Measure Allowing Embryonic Research Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 16, 2006

Madrid, Spain ( — The lower House of the Spanish parliament has approved legislation that would allow human embryos to be genetically selected to screen out and destroy those who may have physical or mental disabilities. The bill also allows human embryos to be killed in research.

The Congress of Deputies signed off on the measure Thursday morning that allows parents to destroy human embryos if they want to use the cells to treat a sibling.

Health minister Elena Salgado denied that the law was a precursor to legalizing human cloning for research and claimed the National Commission of Assisted Human Reproduction would set ethical guidelines for the research.

Pro-life groups opposed the bill and a representative of the Association of the Family told reporters, "This law without a doubt opens the door towards the use of human embryos as material for research and experimentation, which is not good."

Spanish law currently only allows tests on human embryos to determine whether or not they may be disabled.

The bill is part of the ruling Socialist governments agenda and has also upset the Catholic church in Spain. It now goes to the Senate for a debate and vote, which likely won’t happen for several months.

The conservative Popular Party opposed the measure saying there was no proof any of the research techniques approved by the bill have worked.

The bill also eliminates the limit on the number of eggs couples can choose to have fertilized in fertility treatments at one time. The previous Spanish government, run by conservatives, placed the limit at three in 2003.

Pro-life groups worry that when more human embryos are created more will be destroyed that are unused.