ROME — 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. Excommunication forbids Catholics from receiving communion, assisting in any Church duties, and sometimes from having a Church burial. But the threat was shrugged off yesterday by Italy’s leading expert on cloning, Prof Cesare Galli, of the Laboratory of Reproductive Technologies in Cremona, who was the first scientist to clone a horse. Prof Galli likened the Vatican to the Taliban and added: ‘I can bear excommunication. I was raised as a Catholic, I share Catholic values, but I am able to make my own judgment on some issues and I do not need to be told by the Church what to do or to think. ‘I will be, together with Elena […]

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