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Embryo Ruling Keeps Stem Cell Research Legal

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Science  01 Jan 2010:
Vol. 327, Issue 5961, pp. 25
DOI: 10.1126/science.327.5961.25

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Summary

A ruling from the Irish Supreme Court has reignited that country's debate over the legal status of human embryos, confirming the legality of research with human embryonic stem cells but leaving such work in a regulatory limbo that may not be resolved soon. On 15 December, the court ruled that human embryos outside the womb are not "unborn" and therefore are not protected under the country's constitution. The case before the court, in which a woman wanted to implant frozen embryos against the wishes of her estranged husband, does not directly involve stem cell research, but an opposite ruling could have made such work unconstitutional.