Wednesday, 25 April 2007

NCBC Postion on Upcoming Stem Cell Legislation

Here is an excerpt from the National Catholic Bioethics Center letter sent to members of the US Congress recently:
I am writing, on behalf of the National Catholic Bioethics Center, to request
that you oppose proposed legislation S. 5, which would provide tax payer
money for the destruction of human embryos for research purposes.
Furthermore, I am asking that you support S. 30 which would accelerate federal
research on pluripotent stem cells without destroying human embryos.
Basic embryology makes it clear that from fertilization a new human being
exists, as a composite unity, with his or her own internal principle directed
toward continuing organismic development and growth towards adulthood. From the
moment the human zygote is formed a new human being exists, separate from
his/her father or mother. Thus, he/she is a bearer of human rights. Each of us
has as our origin that small cluster of cells we call an embryo. Each human
being has immeasurable value and intrinsic dignity, which outweighs any
utilitarian consideration. Providing public funding to support research on cells
obtained through the destruction of human beings, especially at their most
vulnerable stages, is an affront to the dignity of all persons.

As physicians, we are in a unique position to enter the debate on stem cell research and technology. How often are we asked by our patients "when will stem cells cure my disease, doctor?" Such questions offer the opportunity to introduce the difference in embryonic and non-embryonic research and de-homogenize the rhetoric on the subject. Given the successes of non-embryonic stem cell research and the paucity of progress from embryonic stem cells, we have an opportunity to move opinion away from the sacrifice of embryonic human life.

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