Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Legal Status for French Embryos

Catholic French citizens taking one more step toward legal status of unborn embryos...


PARIS (Reuters) - France's Roman Catholic Church has called for embryos to be given a clear legal status following a court decision that let parents of miscarried fetuses enter them with a name in the official civil registry.

Groups opposed to abortion in many countries have long argued for a legal status for embryos as the first step towards having courts rule that abortion is a form of murder. Abortion rights supporters vigorously oppose any such status.

But Paris Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, head of the French bishops' conference, said establishing this status would not undermine legal abortion in France because of the way the law allowing the termination of pregnancies was constructed.

The Cour de Cassation, France's highest appeals court, ruled on February 6 that a miscarried fetus could be entered into the civil registry if a couple wished to commemorate it that way.

"This means that a fetus has a status," said Vingt-Trois, who is meeting fellow bishops this week to discuss bioethics issues. "What has happened in the past 50 years is that the legal status of the embryo and fetus has been rapidly changed. They have been turned into things.

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