Delaware bishop urges rejection of bill that support embryonic stem-cell research

.- Bishop Michael A. Saltarelli of Wilmington says Delaware legislators should reject Senate Bill 80, which would allow embryonic stem-cell research. The Delaware Regenerative Medicine Act would permit destructive research on human embryos from fertility clinics and would not ban the cloning of human embryos for research purposes.

This type of research would allow scientists “to end one human life for the benefit of another thereby violating a well established moral principle that human beings should not be treated as objects to be used for someone else’s purpose or goal,” said Bishop Saltarelli. “This type of embryonic stem-cell research is morally objectionable and scientifically questionable.”

The bishop said stem cells could come from many ethical sources — umbilical cords, placentas, amniotic fluid, adult tissues and bone marrow.

“The Catholic Church supports research using stem cells from these sources but opposes research when the cells are obtained by destroying embryos, whether created by fertilization or by cloning,” he explained.

Fr. John S. Grimm, diocesan spokesman on bioethical issues, said supporters of embryonic stem-cell research are overlooking the scientific breakthroughs being made with adult stem cells.

“Patients with diabetes, Parkinson’s, spinal cord injuries, cancer, heart disease and other conditions are already being successfully treated with non-embryonic stem cells,” he pointed out.

The Diocese of Wilmington has created a special task force to educate public officials and voters about the ethical questions and scientific options surrounding embryonic stem-cell research. It will also help mobilize a grassroots effort to oppose the bill.

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