What does the Catholic Church teach on stem cell research? Washington Archbishop Donald Wuerl calls President Barack Obama’s decision today to void restrictions on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research “very disheartening,” and notes the availability and success of ethical alternatives. Here’s an excerpt from his Catholic Standard column, Lifting Limits on Embryonic Stem Cell Research: Politics over Science and Ethics:
The announcement that President Barack Obama has signed an executive order voiding restrictions on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research is very disheartening news. It is described by Cardinal Justin Rigali, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, as a “sad victory of politics over science and ethics.” Human life is not to be treated as a commodity, as a raw material to be used in science experiments, but as the gift of God that it is.
What is particularly distressing about the President’s decision is that it is not necessary. Ethical alternatives to embryonic stem cell research, such as the use of adult stem cell tissue and umbilical cord blood where there is no destruction of innocent human life, already exist and have been used successfully for decades.
The Catholic Church supports scientific advances, but the decision to move forward should not be based on whether something can be done, but whether it should be done. As a society, we are called to protect the dignity of all human life and therefore must oppose embryonic stem cell research…..Read the entire column here.