VATICAN CITY: The Vatican on Friday said life was sacred at every stage of its existence and condemned artificial fertilisation, embryonic stem-cell
research, human cloning and drugs which block pregnancy from taking hold.
A long-awaited document on bioethics by the Vatican's doctrinal body also said the so-called "morning after pill" and the drug RU-486, which blocks the action of hormones needed to keep a fertilised egg implanted in the uterus, fall "within the sin of abortion" and are gravely immoral.
"Dignitas Personae" (dignity of a person), an Instruction of Certain Bioethical Questions," said that human life deserved respect "from the very first stages of its existence (and) can never be reduced merely to a group of cells."
It condemned in-vitro fertilisation, saying the techniques "proceed as if the human embryo were simply a mass of cells to be used, selected and discarded."
The document said that only adult stem cell research could be considered as moral because embryonic stem cell research involved the destruction of embryos. In the document, the Vatican also defended its right to intervene on such matters.