Spain may propose law to allow therapeutic cloning

Madrid, Spain - Spain is expected in September to propose a law that would allow therapeutic cloning, pitting the Socialist government once again against the Catholic Church.

"The text of the proposed law is still not finished, but it will be ready in September," Spanish Health Minister Elena Salgado told El Mundo newspaper.

"The draft is being examined by experts in bioethics to clearly define the law's limits," she said Monday, adding that no final decision has been taken yet on authorizing therapeutic cloning.

Still, if all issues can be resolved, Salgado said she hoped to present the law to parliament at the latest the end of the year.

Salgado made the point that the law would only allow therapeutic cloning -- which produces human embryonic stem cells for research -- that will hopefully lead to cures for crippling diseases.

Cloning to reproduce a human being "is absolutely forbidden. It is a limit that will never be breached," she said.

But even therapeutic cloning is opposed by the Catholic Church, which is against the destruction of any human embryonic cells for any reason.

"The church is always opposed to scientific progress but happy that science continues to make progress. Thanks to that, we have better living conditions," Salgado said.

Relations between the church and the government deteriorated after the Spanish parliament passed a law allowing homosexual couples to marry and to adopt children, which took effect on July 4.