German Chancellor Wants More Stem Cell Research
Scoop Report: German Chancellor Wants More Stem Cell Research
By Marietta Gross – Scoop Media Auckland.
German Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has been criticised due to his plan to loosen embryonic stem cell research laws.
Germany mustn’t “permanently avoid the tendency for a liberalisation of the research with embryonic stem cells”, Schroeder said at the celebration of his honorary doctor of the University of Göttingen.
Schroeder backs “a culture of research without bonds, but not without limits”. The German Greens (in coalition with Schroeder’s party), the opposition, doctors and church representatives protested against Schroeder’s approach.
Schroeder emphasized “the enormous potential of biotechnology”, particularly the development of new medicines, improved seeds, and stem cell research. “But it is a research with the potential for new drugs and treatment for so far incurable diseases,” Schroeder is reported as saying.
Schroeder admitted that Germany is within the restrictive countries list following a stem cell law of 2002. Stem cell research and development is advancing with such pace, Schroeder said, society will have to re-decide its position on the use of genetics.
German researchers are currently prevented from extracting stem cells, but can inject them if they were created before 2002.
Germany’s research minister, Edelgard Bulmahn, was open for new laws to regulate genetic research. She said “the research in Germany mustn’t be undocked”.
Schroeder’s approach provoked a clear denial from his coalition partner.
Volker Beck from the Green Party characterized the use of embryos for stem cells as a “politically embellished cannibalism”.
Beck warned of “sacrificing the limits of bioethics” to satisfy the economical interests of the pharmaceutical industry.
The conservative alliance also criticized Schroeder’s suggestion. Only the free democrats argued for an abolition of any restrictions in the field of stem cell research.