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The Daily Telegraph today reported that “Scientists who carry out embryonic stem cell research and politicians who pass laws permitting the practice will be excommunicated.” Does this policy make rational sense, even on religion’s own terms?

Here’s more from the article:

Scientists who carry out embryonic stem cell research and politicians who pass laws permitting the practice will be excommunicated, the Vatican said yesterday. “Destroying human embryos is equivalent to an abortion. It is the same thing,” said Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, head of the Pontifical Council for the Family. “Excommunication will be applied to the women, doctors and researchers who eliminate embryos [and to the] politicians that approve the law,” he said in an interview with / Famiglia Christiana/, an official Vatican magazine.

Last fall I attended a panel that Seed’s Chris Mooney was on, at which Ronald Bailey of the Reason Foundation made the point that something like 80% of fertilized embryos don’t implant, and exit naturally during the next menstrual cycle.

Bailey made the remark that it’s amazing that politicians and religious extremists hold embryos in such high regard when God Himself throws away 80% of them. To me, policies such as this just show that the interest of religionists and some politicians in criminalizing abortion is more about perpetuating patriarchy than anything else.

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