Science crucified

In the second week of June 2005, walls all over Italy were plastered with: "Life cannot be put to test. Don't vote'. The exhortations came from the Catholic clergy, which asked Italians to shun a referendum to repeal their country's law 40: a law banning embryonic stem cell research and restricting access to assisted reproductive technologies. The church carried the day. Only 26 per cent of the eligible citizens took part, roughly half the number required for it to be legally valid