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Apr 14, 2003
 |  BioCentury  |  Politics, Policy & Law

Under-cutting Member States on embryos

The European Parliament last week moved to overturn the rights of individual EU member states to make their own decisions about the use of human embryos for research and for the creation of stem cells and tissue for transplantation. The surprise move calls for a centralized policy where the individual member states have adopted widely different solutions and adds to the frustration of the European scientific community.

Last year, the EU Commission drafted a directive to set EU-wide minimum quality and safety standards for the donation, procurement, testing, processing, storage, and distribution of human cells and tissue. The parliament now has decided to extend the directive to cover research and development.

Along the way, it adopted more than 80 amendments. Although an amendment to ban all embryo research was dismissed last week in a 213-213 standoff, the legislators adopted an anti-embryo research amendment introduced by an Austrian Christian Democrat. Not surprisingly, this amendment was supported by most conservative members of parliament (MEPs), but several social democratic and Green Party...

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