PARLIAMENT has passed a new law allowing embryo research and embryo stem-cell tissue research in spite of strong opposition from both Right-wing and religious groups.
Opposition leaders in the UMP have already said they will lodge a challenge to the new law at the Conseil Constitutionnel.
The new law moves away from the previous position of a ban with exceptions that has been in force since 2004, to allowing research but only under strict controls.
The key to the debate has been embryo stem cells, which can be transformed into any cell type. Research in other countries is seeing progress towards easing many heart problems, Alzheimer’s and visual deterioration, especially macular degeneration, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis and diabetes.
Opponents accused supporters of having given in to pressure from medical laboratories and say such use of embryos is the murder of a human life.
The proposal was carried by 314 votes to 223 in the National Assembly and came only after months of debate as the original text was passed in the Senate at the beginning of December. The opposition had laid nearly 300 amendments for one single article in the text.