The Spanish government plans to introduce legislation soon to authorise therapeutic cloning. In Spain, where the Socialist government has embarked upon a program of radical social reform after winning office unexpectedly in the aftermath of the Madrid bombing, stem cell research has become a major battle in a bitter culture war. Knowing that the Catholic Church is strongly opposed to the move, Health Minister Elena Salgado, was provocative in foreshadowing the legislation in an interview with the newspaper El Mundo. "The Church has always been opposed to the advances of science," she said, "but fortunately science has continued progressing. And thanks to that we live in better conditions."
In neighbouring France, a group of leading scientists has formally petitioned the government to lift its ban on therapeutic cloning. Scientists in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Belgium, Israel are already allowed to use therapeutic cloning for research," said Dr Marc Peschanski, from the French national institute for health and medical research. "There is a growing realisation that France needs to become more competitive and the laws have to be changed accordingly." The group includes the inventor of the abortion drug RU-438, Etienne-Emile Baulieu, the author of the world's first effective gene therapy protocol, Alain Fischer, and the first doctor to produce an IVF baby, Ren? Frydman.
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