US Bishops react to stem cell bills

.- President George W. Bush has promised to veto a bill, which would allow government funding for embryonic stem-cell research. Bush made his intention know after the House approved H.R. 810 on Tuesday. The House also approved H.R. 2520, which supports research that uses stem cells from umbilical cord blood. The bill also establishes a nationwide public bank for umbilical cord blood stem cells.

While embryonic stem-cell research requires the destruction of the embryo, that is, human life at its initial stages, stem-cell research using umbilical cord blood does not compromise or destroy human life.

Officials of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops are pleased with the vote on research based on umbilical cord blood, but they had come out strongly against embryonic stem-cell research

An official with the USCCB Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities noted that the pro-life movement was up against the Hollywood celebrities, researchers and scientists and the wealthy biotechnology industry in the debate on embryonic stem-cell research.

Richard Doerflinger said the “floor debate showed an appalling degree of ignorance and confusion on the issue.” For example, some said that “embryonic stem cells have a proven ability to cure patients and that adult stem cells do not, whereas exactly the opposite is true,” Doerflinger said.

According to a poll conducted this month, 52 percent of Americans oppose federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research. When given a choice between funding all stem-cell research, or only research which does not require destroying human embryos, respondents favored the latter by 60 to 22 percent.

“Society must focus its efforts on promoting medical research that all Americans can live with,” said Doerflinger.

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