Missouri Bishops speak out against embryonic stem cell research

.- The issue of embryonic stem cell research has reached Missouri's Catholic churches. Sunday, parishioners were told not to support this kind of medical research.

Rev. Thomas Keller of the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis said, "The destruction of human life, even in it's embryonic form, is something that is evil that we don't want to participate in. We want to educate our folks that there's more to the story than simply saying this is a type of research on human cells."

The message is in response to a proposed constitutional amendment to prevent any stem cell research from getting banned in Missouri.

Donn Rubin is chairman of Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures which is proposing the amendment.

Rubin said, "The legislation that was proposed in the Missouri legislature would have made criminals not only of researchers but of patients and physicians who participated in delivering therapies and cures."

Rubin said a constitutional amendment is the only way to protect stem cell research in Missouri.

"If the FDA approves a cure that's developed as being safe and effective we want to make sure Missouri patients will have access and Missouri patients and their families won't have to travel to other parts of the country to get treatments or be condemned here in Missouri to second class healthcare."

The Catholic church supports adult stem research, but not embryonic stem cell research.

"We shouldn't participate in the discarding of that (stem cells). Catholics or even society at large really should take a look at the way in which we so very easily can discard human life based on the fact it's not useful to someone anymore. " said Rev. Thomas Keeler.

The Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures will need about 150,000 signatures statewide to put the initiative on next November's ballot. It would then need a simple majority of the votes to pass.

The coalition will start collecting signatures within the next two weeks.

This campaign follows a previous campaign, launched in April by the Missouri Catholic Bishops Conference to support a ban against human cloning, and many other documents released by the Missouri Bishops on the sanctity of human life.


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