Source Pravda.Ru

Pope Benedict XVI tries "to protect human life"

&to=http:// english.pravda.ru/printed.html?news_id=15319 ' target=_blank>Pope Benedict XVI has backed a campaign by Italy's Catholic Church to oppose repealing an assisted fertility law that supports say reigns in runaway research in the reproductive technologies field.

The need for the law came when a 62 year-old woman who became pregnant via artificial insemination. The fertility specialist responsible for that feat has already stated he wants to be the first researcher to clone a human being.

The pope commended Italian Catholic officials for trying to "enlighten the choices of Catholics."

The Pope said it was important for the church to urge Catholics in the European country to protect human life, reports the Life News.

The pope spoke to the Italian bishops’ conference, which has called on Italians to boycott the referendum, scheduled for June 12-13. While it was his first foray into an Italian issue, the pope’s support was not unexpected. Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the head of the Italian bishops conference, is the pope’s vicar for Rome.

The current law forbids sperm and egg donation, limits the number of &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/main/2001/07/06/9586.html ' target=_blank>embryoscreated with in vitro techniques to three and bans all embryo research.

The referendums would abrogate the law’s provisions on embryo research, the three-embryo limit, the ban on egg or sperm donation from outside the couple and the attribution of rights to the unborn.

Opponents complain the law restricts scientific research and a woman’s reproductive rights.

The ANSA news agency reported that 85% of the physicians at Italy’s largest gynaecological hospital in Turin support changing the law and that more than 100 of the doctors issued a public appeal today for Italians to vote.

A communist politician, Franco Giordano, went on Radio Radicale and called the pope’s remarks an “unwarranted interference in the affairs of the Italian state.” The Radicals are among the sponsors of the referendum.