Catholic doctors attack British government’s decision to permit human cloning


Catholic doctors are appalled at the British government’s recent decision to allow human cloning – with the use of human embryos – for medical reasons.

The International Federation of Catholic Doctors came out strongly against the decision, taken by the British authorities. "The human aim is only a pretence, aimed at manipulating public opinion to cover up the enormous economic and financial interests behind stem-cell research," reads the Catholic doctors’ statement.

We believe that "killing human beings, even in an embryonic state, is unacceptable, even when it is aimed at treating other human beings,” says the statement.

The International Federation of Catholic Doctors is encouraging research on adult stem cells instead, “the clinical potential of which has already been proven,” it said.

British doctor Dr. Helen Watt agrees. The director of the Linacre Centre for Healthcare Ethics said yesterday she was "appalled but not surprised" by the news that a licence had been granted by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) for destructive human cloning.

“It is extraordinary that, at a time when adult stem cells are already used to treat a whole range of diseases, the HFEA should consider it 'necessary' to create and destroy human clones,” said Watt, whose organization is supported by the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales.

“Cells from early embryos are difficult to control and have not so far produced a single treatment,” she added. “Investment should not be diverted from ethical projects with a proven track record.”

The International Federation of Catholic Doctors is also concerned that large sums of money are being diverted to this research area unjustifiably. Their statement points out that "with a lot less money it is possible to solve problems such as malaria, aids and malnutrition."

The federation is also launching an appeal and urging scientists and government officials to "think about the risks for humanity caused by human cloning."

Earlier this week, Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls reiterated the Church’s opposition to such scientific practice.

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