National Review Online gives us an editorial written by Dennis Boyles about the difference between the United States and most of Europe when it comes to abortion and stem cell research.
Abortions are limited or illegal after the first trimester in much of Europe, and there’s even a discussion about pulling the UK’s limit back from 24 weeks to 22 weeks or earlier. Laws in other countries forbid or limit abortion according to the weeks of gestation:
France: 12 weeks
Germany: 12 weeks
Italy: 13 weeks
Sweden: 18 weeks
US: limits after 26 weeks
Australia: No limit
While the US has no national laws that ban any sort of embryonic stem cell research or cloning by Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT), most nations in the world has laws to forbid any cloning at all for research and few allow destruction of embryos for research. France, in particular, forbids SCNT and only allows research on embryonic stem cells from donated embryos. The European Union actually tightened their policies this summer.
From the NRO article:
When the issue of stem cell research came up before the EU last July, Germany and Austria led the effort to impose common-sense restrictions, as the Daily Telegraph reported. Elisabeth Gehrer, Austria’s science minister, asked if the EU really wanted “300-400 fertilized human embryos to be destroyed to create stem cells? This destruction of human embryos to create stem cell lines is not something we can support. We do not want community money, which includes Austrian money, to support this.”
Gehrer’s comment was reported under a wistfully misleading headline and lead in the International Herald Tribune, which also quoted the EU’s research commissioner: “[The EU] will not pay for the destruction of embryos with EU money,” he said. This was echoed by Germany’s research minister, Annette Schavan, who told reporters, “The protection of human dignity, the right to life, need to be properly entrenched. There should be no financial incentives for the destruction and killing of embryos.”