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USCCB Submits Comments to NIH on Proposed Guidelines for Stem Cell Research
Date:5/22/2009

cells is "justifiable only if no less morally problematic alternatives are available for advancing the research."

Msgr. Malloy added that alternative methods of stem cell research, such as reprogramming ordinary adult cells into "induced pluripotent stem cells" (iPS cells) without harming human life, have made great advances under a federal policy preventing researchers from destroying live human embryos for federally funded research.

"Yet President Obama's executive order of March 9 not only rescinded that policy, but also rescinded the executive order of 2007 instructing the NIH to thoroughly explore new avenues for obtaining pluripotent stem cells without destroying human embryos," Msgr. Malloy said. "Both science and ethics have been ignored in this decision."

Msgr. Malloy said the President's executive order and the draft guidelines fail the Bioethics Commission's test, "by failing to require that morally unproblematic avenues for exploring important medical research goals be thoroughly investigated before the NIH considers any avenues that require destroying embryonic human life."

"Avenues of stem cell research which pose no moral problem are now showing great promise. In fact, human patients suffering from all the conditions cited by President Obama when he signed his executive order -- cancer, juvenile diabetes, Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injury, heart disease -- have been shown in peer-reviewed studies to benefit from clinical trials using human stem cells," he said. "And in every case, the benefit has come not from embryonic stem cells, but from the adult and cord blood stem cells that this organization and others have said should receive priority attention."

Msgr. Malloy expressed relief the proposed guidelines do not seek to fund research in which embryos are created for the purpose of research, but explained how "in key respects the guidelin
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SOURCE U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities
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