Georgetown University defends use of cell lines from aborted fetuses

.- Georgetown University is defending its research practices after a review revealed that its Medical Center is using cell lines derived from aborted fetuses, reported the College Reporter. A review was conducted on the origins of cell lines used at the center after Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, archbishop of Washington, requested it last summer.

The review revealed that 18 of the center’s researchers were using four different cell lines, derived from aborted fetuses.

The university did not create the cell lines; they were obtained from the National Institute of Health between 25 and 40 years ago, explained Lindsey Spindle, director of university public relations. When the research began, the origin of the cell lines was unknown.

Four of the researchers have since switched to cell lines derived from non-fetal tissue. However, 18 researchers did not in order not to compromise current research and invalidate their findings, Spindle said.

The university said the use of these cell lines is not its “preference”, but added that the researchers are morally justified in their work. 

But the American Bioethics Advisory Committee disagrees. It says the research is contradictory to Catholic teaching.

Medical Center researcher Fr. Kevin Fitzgerald maintains that university research is in conformity with the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Service and with “widely accepted Catholic moral theology.”

The ethical directives state: “Catholic health-care institutions should not make use of human tissue obtained by direct abortions even for research and therapeutic purposes."


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