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Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice President Applauds Obama Stem Cell Policy

WASHINGTON, March 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement by Reverend Dr. Carlton W. Veazey, President and CEO, RCRC:

The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC) congratulates President Obama for lifting the Bush administration's ideological restrictions on federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research. This change is a victory for rational policy-making that respects diverse religious and moral views and a defeat for right-wing religious politics.

Major Protestant denominations and Jewish traditions* took official positions supporting federal funding for carefully regulated research with stem cells from embryos that are slated to be destroyed (generally those left over from in vitro fertilization). These bodies do not support the creation of embryos for research; that is, they oppose cloning of embryos.

In 2000, the RCRC Board of Directors adopted the following statement about the moral issues involved in this research: "We believe, as do most authorities and commissions that have addressed the issue, that human embryos have the potential of personhood and, as such, they deserve respect. But excess embryos slated for destruction must not be placed above persons whose pain and suffering might be alleviated due to the knowledge gained from studying embryonic cells. Placing obstacles in the way of life-saving research with embryonic stem cells that are already created and will be destroyed is misguided. In the case of existing embryos that will be destroyed, providing federal funding for research is, in our view, fully consistent with respect for human life. Millions of Americans suffer from diseases and injuries that could be treated if scientists had adequate funds to research and develop new therapies."

*The United Methodist Church, Episcopal Church (in the U.S.), Presbyterian Church (USA), United Church of Christ, and the Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform movements of Judaism

RCRC was founded in 1973 to represent religious support for reproductive rights. Its members are religious and religiously affiliated organizations that support reproductive options on the basis of their religious beliefs. Its programs include the National Black Church Initiative, La Iniciativa Latina, Spiritual Youth for Reproductive Freedom, and public education and advocacy. It ahs affiliates in more than 20 states.

SOURCE Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
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