Buenos Aires (Fides Service) - On Sunday 12 June Italians will be called to voice an opinion on the country’s existing law on fertility treatment passed in 2004. In a referendum citizens will decide whether or not four articles of the law should be changed in order to lift restrictions on fertility treatment and use of human embryos for clinical tests to find cures for some illnesses and to withdraw recognition of the human embryo’s rights as a person. The points for abrogation are the following: limited use of embryos for clinical testing; limited number of 3 embryos for In Vitro Fertilisation; the human embryo is a person with rights; no heterologous fertilisation. In a referendum voters may vote yes or no or they may not vote. Catholics have been urged not to vote in the referendum to show their dissatisfaction with the law by no means perfect but better than nothing.
Fertility treatment is a topic of world wide interest. Fides spoke with Argentinean Doctor Hna Elena Lugo a member of the Secular Institute of Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary, President of the Father José Kentenich Bio-ethics Commission and a teacher and Consultant in Bio-Ethical medicine. She said that for natural law and for the Catholic Church “the human embryo is an individual from the moment of conception who grows and develops until ready for birth”. Therefore given this clear and recognised notion of science “it is biologically irresponsible to differentiate the process of pregnancy giving priority to one stage rather than another for a purely functional criteria". “With regard to the embryo being cloned or generated through parthenogenesis” Dr Lugo said “ontological status and ethic dimensions are still a matter for discussion but if the embryo is considered an individual person there exist dignity and rights which must be respected”. (RG) (Agenzia Fides 6/6/2005, righe 20, parole 278).