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Press Release No. 83 | 12 December 2007
Stem Cell Research Debate: DFG President Calls for Objectivity

Speaking on the recent intensification in the stem cell research debate, the President of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation, DFG), Professor Matthias Kleiner declared:

During the federal party convent of the CDU (Christian Democratic Union of Germany) held in Hanover in early December, the majority of delegates spoke in favour of a decision of conscience by the representatives with regard to the question of postponing the deadline for the import of embryonic stem cell lines following a very serious debate. This was a continuation of the rational and objective discussion which had transpired during the preceding months. The DFG welcomes the relevant exchange of all arguments and has utmost respect for the various positions.

The DFG is hopeful that this balanced, constructive debate can continue until the plenary discussion in the Federal Parliament to be held in the spring of 2008, and hopes that an appropriate decision will be made which is in the spirit of research.

Not acceptable, however, are the verbal attacks from various bishops against the position presented by Federal Minister of Education and Research Annette Schavan. This applies primarily to the statement from Bishop Gebhard Fürst, who places stem cell research performed on the basis of current legislation next to the human experiments performed by the National Socialists. This is not acceptable!

But the charge from Cardinal Joachim Meisner that the minister would "give up Christian principles due to pressure from lobbyists" also seriously impedes the continuation of this very important debate.