Cloning Can Lead to a New Slavery, Warn Mexican Doctors

After Senate Backs Stem Cell Research on Human Embryos

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MEXICO CITY, MAY 4, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The Mexican Senate's approval of stem cell research using human embryos prompted a physicians group to warn about the new forms of slavery the country is risking.



The Association of Catholic Doctors of the Archdiocese of Mexico in a published statement said: "On one hand, some of the lawmakers justify the death of the embryos alleging that it will serve to cure sicknesses or they simply deny that the conceived embryos are human beings."

"On the other, scientists and experts have explained to the lawmakers that it is not necessary to kill to obtain these cells," they add.

The doctors distinguish between embryonic stem cells and what occurs when stem cells are extracted from an embryo, which, in the end, impedes the embryo's continued development, condemning it to death.

"In the face of this new controversy, the Church speaks out against a new form of racism, according to which, the life of some Mexicans is no more than a medication for others," the doctor said in the statement.

"Basing ourselves on the biological, legal and anthropological statute of the human embryo and on fundamental bioethical and scientific principles, it is illicit to kill an innocent being even when it brings a benefit to Mexican society," they explained.

Recently, the urgency to establish the Institute of Genomic Medicine prompted a move to modify a text approved by the Congress of the Union of Mexican States in December. The Senate eliminated a clause in Article 7 of the law of Institutes of Health which prohibited the use of human stem cells of living embryos.

The change to the text now opens unlimited possibilities for embryo experimentation, under the premise that therapeutic applications of stem cells might help to treat a variety of sicknesses. However, "all this remains in the realm of promises," the Catholic doctors noted.

Their statement contended that the elimination of the text could lead to a new form of slavery in Mexico, as "it cannot be denied that the intention of the latent eugenics opens the doors to the exploitation of the human embryo."

The statement also points out the aberration of "investing enormous public funds in such research, taking them away from solutions to national tragedies such as the scarcity of basic medicines, the saturation of the health system, and the malnutrition of thousands of Mexicans."

The doctors said it is absurd "to continue to seek the support of public opinion for these projects by promising the imminent treatment of many chronic sicknesses, although there is no certainty whatsoever of real clinical application for many years to come."