Catholic World News

Oregon researchers clone human embryos for sake of stem cells

May 16, 2013

Researchers at Oregon Health and Science University have succeeded in cloning human embryos in order to obtain their stem cells, according to press reports.

The researchers removed nuclei from fetal skin cells and fused them with the nuclei of oocytes (eggs before maturation). They then destroyed over 120 of the resulting embryos as they extracted the stem cells.

“The news that researchers have developed a technique for human cloning is deeply troubling on many levels,” said Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities. “Over 120 human embryos were created and destroyed, to produce six embryonic stem cell lines. Creating the embryos involved subjecting healthy women to procedures that put their health and fertility at risk. And the researchers’ alleged goal, producing genetically matched stem cells for research and possible therapies, is already being addressed by scientific advances that do not pose these grave moral wrongs.”

Cardinal O’Malley added:

Creating new human lives in the laboratory solely to destroy them is an abuse denounced even by many who do not share the Catholic Church's convictions on human life. Also, this means of making embryos for research will be taken up by those who want to produce cloned children as "copies" of other people. Whether used for one purpose or the other, human cloning treats human beings as products, manufactured to order to suit other people's wishes. It is inconsistent with our moral responsibility to treat each member of the human family as a unique gift of God, as a person with his or her own inherent dignity. A technical advance in human cloning is not progress for humanity but its opposite.

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