European Union Will Vote on Tax-Funded Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 8, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

European Union Will Vote on Tax-Funded Embryonic Stem Cell Research Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 8, 2006

Brussels, Belgium ( — The parliament of the European Union will soon vote on a science budget proposal that would include taxpayer funding for embryonic stem cell research. Pro-life groups are calling on citizens in member nations to ask their members of the EU parliament to reject the funding in an upcoming vote.

A full European Union parliamentary session will consider the science budget on June 14 and British pro-life groups are leading the way in asking for MEPs to vote against it.

Patrick Buckley of European Life Network told The Catholic Universe newspaper, "The outcome of the vote … will determine how the EU will allocate 2 billion euros in bioethical research and what types of research project will benefit from it."

Buckley said his group opposes any funding of research "that would include the destruction of human embryos" and pointed out that embryonic stem cell research "is illegal in many EU member states."

The upcoming EU vote has also drawn the attention of the European Bishops conference.

"We reiterate our objection to EU-funding of research implying the destruction of human embryos," the conference said in a statement. "Such research raises fundamental ethical and anthropological concerns.”

"Treating the human embryo as an object for research is not compatible with human dignity," the bishops conference said. "The EU should concentrate its joint research efforts on the many other promising areas of research, also in other kinds of stem cell research, which offer promise."

The European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy approved a draft report of the budget after new Italian Research Minister Fabio Mussi changed his country’s position.

Italy had been involved in a coalition of nations including Germany, Malta, Slovakia, Poland and Austria, that were holding up tax funding for the research. After Italians replaced former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi with newly-elected Prime Minister Romano Prodi, the new minister changed the nation’s position.

The budget, known as the EU’s Framework Programme 7 (FP7), would cover funding for 2007-2013.

The FP6 guidelines from the last budget gave preferential treatment to adult stem cell research but still funded embryonic stem cell studies as long as they were not conducted in nations with bans on such funding. Under FP6, eight embryonic stem cell research and over 100 adult stem cell research projects received financial support.

Germany and Austria proposed banning any EU funding of embryonic stem cell research in March, which had Italy’s support at the time.

The EU science budget allocates $88.4 billion for research.

Related web sites:
Society for the Protection of Unborn Children –