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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

1/31/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

No-one has a right to kill a human embryonic person

Swedish scientists claim to have developed an ethical way of removing stem cells from embryos without killing the baby. They say the development could revolutionize stem cell research by making it acceptable to those who object to the killing of children in the womb. Unfortunately, ethical concerns remain.

Swedish scientists say they can now extract a single stem cell from an embryo without killing the embryo

Swedish scientists say they can now extract a single stem cell from an embryo without killing the embryo

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

1/31/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Health

Keywords: stem cell, research, treatment, Sweden, Swedish, single, cell, morality, ethics


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Stem cells hold enormous potential for healing patients with serious illnesses. Adult stem cells are now being used with amazing results and the progress is promising. The catholic Church is on the forefront , promoting this marvelous development which NEVER destroys life.

Embryonic stem cells are the basic cells that develop from the moment of conception. These cells have the remarkable ability to transform into any other specialized cells that the body needs. Following God's plan of creation, the cells develop into all the various organs and components of the body.

Harvesting the cells from children in the womb, allows scientists to preserve the cells and later grow entire organs from them. The practice has the potential to eliminate most, if not all, need for organ donation and could be used to treat diseases such as Alzheimer's and cancer.

Entire body parts that are diseased or worn out could possibly be replaced using these procedures.

The problem has always been that so many stem cells need to be harvested from embryos that every procedure to harvest them results in the death of a human embryonic person. This of course, is entirely and ethically unacceptable. The Catholic Church unequivocally opposes human embryonic stem cell research. She must! She will not change her position.

Why? The answer is simple, it is always deadly. The human embryo is a living member of the human species who, like every one of us, is always in development. Every human being possesses an equal moral dignity and has a fundamental Right to Life. This is true no matter what age or stage of our development, degree of dependence upon others (we are all dependent upon others) or the opinion of others as to our "worth".

We are not products we are persons.The Vatican expressed it this way in 2008, "the use of human embryos or fetuses as an object of experimentation constitutes a crime against their dignity as human beings who have a right to the same respect owed to a child once born, just as to every person." (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction Dignitas Personae on Certain Bioethical Questions).

In 1987 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of the Holy See issued an outstanding instruction entitled "Instruction on Respect for Human Life in its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation". Among the many questions answered was, "What Respect is due to the human embryo, taking into account his nature and identity?"

The answer: "The human being must be respected - as a person - from the very first instant of his (her) existence."  In 2008 the same Vatican Congregation issued an instruction entitled the "Dignity of the Human Person: On Certain Bioethical Questions"  The Congregation reminded us all that science must be placed at the service of the human person, the family and the common good. Any use of new technologies must respect that the human body is never an "it" - but an "I" - some-one who must never be treated as an object:

"The body of a human being, from the very first stages of its existence, can never be reduced merely to a group of cells. The embryonic human body develops progressively according to a well defined program with its proper finality, as is apparent in the birth of every baby."

This defense of the dignity of all human life begins with these words, "The dignity of a person must be recognized in every human being from conception to natural death. This fundamental principle expresses a great "yes" to human life and must be at the center of ethical reflection on biomedical research, which has an ever greater importance in today's world."

The efforts to promote the tired old "The Catholic Church is against science" argument is often  perpetuated by those who simply do not like the Catholic Church's uncompromising defense of the dignity of all human life, at every age and stage. The Catholic Church not only supports but promotes ethical stem cell research.

Swedish scientists now claim that they have developed a method by which only a single stem cell is taken from a baby, which does not necessarily kill the baby. Although they admit that significant risks still remain.

The scientists claim that a single stem cell can now be harvested from an embryo and preserved, then if later in life that person develops a serious illness, their stem cell could be used to treat that individual, or any other person whose tissue matches with the donor cell.

We will be reporting on this development and hope that it shows the kind of promise which these scientists claim.
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