Pope Benedict XVI during a conference on Monday said embryos developed for in vitro fertilization have a right to life even before they are implanted in a woman's uterus, the AP/Detroit Free Press reports (Winfield, AP/Detroit Free Press, 2/28). Appearing before the Pontifical Academy for Life, which opened the international conference on the scientific and bioethical considerations of "The Human Embryo Before Implantation," Benedict declared every human life "sacred and inviolable." He added, "This moral judgment is valid from the start of the life of an embryo, even before it is implanted in the maternal womb." According to Reuters, Benedict's speech appeared to be an attempt to address the issue of stem cell research (Pullella, Reuters, 2/27). The pope also emphasized the Catholic Church's opposition to IVF, saying it replaces love between a husband and wife. The church only allows reproductive assistance if it "facilitates" sexual activity between a couple, VOA News reports (Castelfranco, VOA News, 2/27).

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