FOCUS Essay Calls for Support of Ethically Sound Adult Stem Cell Research
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(LANSING)—The Michigan Catholic Conference announced today it is distributing statewide its periodic essay FOCUS in an effort to foster understanding of stem cell research while conveying the Catholic Church’s support for ethically sound research using adult stem cells. FOCUS: On the Ethics of Stem Cell Research is intended to educate Michigan residents on the profound differences between adult and embryonic stem cell research and the considerable moral and ethical questions involved.
“With an issue as important as stem cell research being debated at the national level, it is critical for the residents of Michigan to understand that adult stem cell research is currently treating dozens of diseases without destroying human embryos,” said Michigan Catholic Conference Vice President for Public Policy Paul A. Long. “The Michigan Catholic Conference, in its defense of human life from conception until natural death, is willing to take the lead to ensure that stem cell research is neither a partisan nor political issue, but one of human and civil rights.”
Adult stem cells are present in the umbilical cord of newborns and last in a person’s body throughout his or her life. While extracting stem cells from embryos to establish embryonic stem cell lines kills embryos, neither the use of adult stem cells nor the establishment of adult stem cell lines involves a disproportionate risk to the individual from whom the cells are taken.
FOCUS, which is being distributed in part to all 803 Catholic parishes across the state, features a short essay titled “The Ethics of Stem Cell Research” by Dr. Peter Cataldo, Ph.D., research director of the National Catholic Bioethics Center. The essay explains the differences between adult and embryonic stem cell research, and addresses the fact that adult stem cells are currently treating at least 56 diseases in a manner that is ethically sound. Questions and answers related to stem cell research are also published.
According to the essay: “The prospect of curing many debilitating conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, Diabetes, Alzheimer’s and paralysis (or at least significantly lessening the suffering they cause) through stem cell research and therapy has captured the ethical and political attention of the world. The fact that there is so much at stake in stem cell research makes the issue a defining one for America.”