concluding its 86th Plenary Assembly, Spain’s Catholic Bishops’
Conference issued a powerful document condemning a new law on assisted
human reproduction that promotes cloning and genetic engineering.
In the statement, which was presented to the media by Conference spokesman Father Juan Antonio Martinez Camino, the bishops called the creation of human beings in laboratories a “practice that clashes with the dignity of the person and brings with it numerous abuses and attacks against unborn human life, that is, against children.”
While he praised the advances of science and technology, Bishop Ricardo Blazquez, president of the Conference, said “that which is scientifically and technologically possible” should also conform to an “ethic that respects human dignity.”
Each human being, the bishops said, has absolute value and should never be treated as objects or means to an end. “The dignity of the human being demands that children be procreated, not produced,” they emphasized.
Addressing the use of the term “pre-embryo,” which in the new Spanish law refers to an embryo that is less than 14 days old, the bishops noted that fertilization results in the creation of a unique organism that is distinct from both father and mother, and that “where there is a living human body, there is a human person, and therefore, inviolable human dignity.”
“There is no scientific or philosophical basis” for the concept of “pre-embryo,” they stated.
The bishops also noted that the new law puts no limits on the creation of embryos in laboratories and that it would allow “the use of frozen embryos for research or even industrial purposes.” In fact, they warned, “the embryo is considered mere biological material, a mere collection of cells without human dignity.”
“Only the (embryos) that are eventually found to be healthy are transferred or frozen,” the bishops continued. “That is, the sick embryos are chosen for death and the healthy ones for life or for freezing: eugenics.”
The bishops also warned that by approving therapeutic human cloning, the new law, “like it or not,” would be opening the door to reproductive cloning.