Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Ethical, Moral Disconnect in Embryonic Stem Cell Use

WASHINGTON (from CNS) -- By proposing to allow the use of federal funds for stem-cell research on embryos created for reproductive purposes at in vitro fertilization clinics and later discarded, the National Institutes of Health opens "a new chapter in divorcing biomedical research from its necessary ethical foundation," said Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia April 21.

"Without unconditional respect for the life of each and every member of the human race, research involving human subjects does not represent true progress," said the cardinal, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

"It becomes another way for some human beings to use and mistreat others for their own goals."

Cardinal Rigali was commenting on draft guidelines for embryonic stem-cell research issued April 17 by acting NIH director Dr. Raynard S. Kington during a news briefing by telephone.

Although Kington said he believed the draft guidelines reflect "broad support in the public and in the scientific community," he said he expected much of the public comment on them to focus on ethical concerns.

A 30-day period of public comment was to begin with publication of the draft guidelines in the Federal Register, which had not occurred by April 21.

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