Stem Cell Research/Cloning
"Advances in biomedical technology must never come at the expense of human conscience. As we seek what is possible, we must always ask what is right, and we must not forget that even the most noble ends do not justify any means...Research cloning would contradict the most fundamental principle of medical ethics, that no human life should be exploited or extinguished for the benefit of another."
Remarks by President George W. Bush on Human Cloning Legislation, April 10, 2002.
Human Cloning: manufacturing human life
Cloning perverts God's design for creating new life. In cloning, a child is not created; a new life is simply manufactured. A child becomes a product, and a product is never considered equal to its producer. Cloning is therefore a perverse mode of generating a human life that affronts the dignity, equality and freedom of that human life at its very beginning.
Pro-lifers opposes both "reproductive cloning," where a cloned human embryo is brought to birth, and "research cloning," where a cloned human embryo is experimented upon and killed in the name of scientific progress. The terminology is, of course, problematic because it implies that there is a difference between "reproductive" and "therapeutic" cloning. But the distinction between the two is illusory and intentionally misleading. Both involve the artificial reproduction of a fully human life.
Once the nucleus of a somatic (body) cell is injected into an empty egg and stimulated to begin development, it is a human embryo. The difference lies in the intended use of that human embryo - whether it is to be implanted in the womb and brought to birth (reproductive cloning) or whether it is to be eviscerated by extracting its stem cells (research cloning). Either intention is repugnant, in that the dignity and individuality of the human person is thoroughly disregarded.
Comprehensive Human Cloning Ban
- PLW Column
- Q & A
- Talking Points
- Glossary of terms
- Press Releases:
Senate Moves Toward Total Ban on Human Cloning
Comprehensive Human Cloning Ban Passes Senate, Moves to Governor's Desk
Governor Declares Wisconsin OPEN for Human Cloning
Embryonic Stem Cell Research: destroying human life
A human embryonic stem cell, often referred to as "totipotent," is essentially a "blank" cell, capable of becoming or differentiating into the more than 220 cell types in the human body, including skin cells, muscle cells, or nerve cells. An embryonic stem cell line is immortal, providing and endless replication of cells with defined characteristics.
Embryonic stem cell research requires the destruction of innocent human life. Embryonic stem cells are obtained by harvesting living embryos that are 3-5 days old and typically "left over" from in-vitro fertilization clinics. When an embryo's inner stem cell mass is extracted to harvest its stem cells, it is necessarily killed. Sacrificing human embryos - babies in their earliest stages of development - in the name of science is immoral and dangerous. Forcing taxpayers to fund it is especially offensive.
Ethically unproblematic adult stem cell research, which does not require the destruction of human embryos, has experienced documented clinical success over a wide range of health conditions: breast cancer, ovarian cancer, brain tumors, stroke, cardiac repair after heart attack, and corneal damage to name a few. Adult stem cell research is the only stem cell research with proven clinical application. In contrast, embryonic stem cells have never helped a human patient and any claim that they may do so is pure speculation.
In March 2009, President Obama signed an executive order that federally funds the destruction of human embryos for stem cell research. The order removed President Bush's August 2001 federal funding restrictions on human embryonic stem cell research, therefore permitting federal funding of new embryonic stem cell lines derived from the destruction of new human embryos "donated" from in vitro fertilization clinics. Congress made earlier attempts to accomplish the same end through legislation entitled the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act. Fortunately then-President Bush vetoed the bill.
Federal Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act
President Obama's 2009 Executive Order