Embryonic Research Assailed on Many Levels

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PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania, MARCH 11, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Moral reflection must take precedence over scientific achievement in the area of stem cell research, insists the bishop of Pittsburgh.



In a pastoral letter, "Evangelium Vitae: A 10th Anniversary Reflection on Stem Cell Research," Bishop Donald Wuerl praised the success of research on adult stem cells and criticized the creation of human embryos for the sake of "harvesting parts."

"Morally, ethically and humanly speaking, one cannot justify taking innocent human life for any alleged good that might come from it," he said.

"Even pragmatically, the potential benefit of embryonic stem cell research is a poor argument for [government] funding. Research conducted anywhere in the world has yet to produce a single medical benefit to any patient anywhere," wrote the bishop.

Research using adult stems cells is more likely to lead to potential cures and treatments than that using embryonic stem cells, the letter states.

"According to the most recent research, adult stem cells have produced 140 successful treatments for 56 diseases," Bishop Wuerl wrote.

The fundamental issue at hand, he noted in his letter, is that of ethics in the face of scientific progress. "We cannot allow our technology to outstrip our ethical reflection. The two need to move forward together."