A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Friday, October 22, 2004

Stem Cells and Cloning

"From a purely scientific point of view, the therapeutic progress already achieved with so-called adult stem cells, namely stem cells from bone marrow, cord blood, and other mature tissues appears very promising. Embryonic cloning, for its part, is as yet far from delivering the progress that its advocates suggest. There has yet to be a definite clinical success using cloned embryonic stem cells even in animal experiments. The work that would make it safe to experiment in this manner on human beings will likely take a very long time, and these obstacles may never be overcome.

"Moreover, the distinction that is sometimes drawn between reproductive and therapeutic cloning seems specious. Both involve the same technical cloning process and differ only in goal. Both forms of cloning involve disrespect for the dignity of the human being. In fact, from an ethical and anthropological standpoint, so-called therapeutic cloning, creating human embryos with the intention of destroying them, even if undertaken with the goal of possibly helping sick patients in the future, seems very clearly incompatible with respect for the dignity of the human being, making one human life nothing more than the instrument of another. Further, given the fact that cloned embryos would be indistinguishable from embryos created by in vitro fertilization and could readily be implanted into wombs and brought to birth, we believe it would be practically impossible to enforce an instrument that allowed one type of cloning while banning the other.

"If adult stem cell research has already demonstrated conditions for success and raises no ethical questions, it is only reasonable that it should be pursued before science embarks on cloning embryos as a source for stem cells, something which remains problematic both scientifically and ethically.

"Does this mean we are opposed to scientific progress? Rather, we would say that the choice is not between science and ethics, but between science that is ethically responsible and science that is not. Thousands of lives have been saved by adult stem cells, most often in the treatment of leukemia and other cancers. Solid scientific evidence has now established that adult stem cell transplants are safe, and preliminary results suggest they will be able to help people with Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injury, heart damage and dozens of other conditions. The danger is that this progress toward cures will be halted or slowed down by the diversion of attention and resources towards the cloning of human beings as a potential source of stem cells."
From a speech by Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, to the International Convention Against the Reproductive Cloning of Human Beings (emphases added)
October 21, 2004