Michigan Catholic Conference Calls for Honest Dialogue in Embryonic Stem Cell/Human Cloning Debate
MCC Lists Four Points That Must be Addressed in Stem Cell/Cloning Discussion
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(LANSING)—Michigan Catholic Conference today is calling on the administration and legislators to engage in honest and open dialogue with the residents of Michigan regarding measures that support embryonic stem cell research and human cloning. According to the Conference, supporters of such legislation have failed to communicate to the public the Pandora’s box of ethical and moral issues that accompany legislation that has been introduced in both the House of Representatives and Senate.
“It is utterly disingenuous for any elected official to discuss embryonic stem cell research and Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer without addressing the fact that human embryos must be purposefully cloned and killed for the process to be successful,” said Paul A. Long, MCC Vice President for Public Policy. “By using euphemisms such as ‘therapeutic cloning,’ or by expressing the need to strengthen an existing human cloning ban, supporters of these measures are deceiving the public by completely avoiding the hard-to-swallow details.”
Michigan Catholic Conference has repeatedly expressed its support for research using adult stem cells and has pointed out that this process is helping to treat over 70 different conditions, including many auto-immune diseases and various forms of cancer. Such research is not only proven, it is also conducted in a manner that presents neither the ethical nor moral dilemmas that are associated with embryonic stem cell research. In order to support further ethical and proven research, legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives that would create a statewide cord blood bank, which allows for the storage and preservation of adult stem cells.
To encourage an honest debate on embryonic stem cell research and human cloning, Michigan Catholic Conference calls on the administration and legislators to address the following four points when discussing the issue:
Michigan statute prohibits destroying live human embryos for research purposes and the creation of human embryos through cloning. Legislation in both the House and Senate would amend these statutes to allow for human embryos to be cloned, which is a necessary component of Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer, then killed to extract the embryo’s stem cell lines. In fact, legislation in the Senate alters the definition of “human cloning” to allow for embryos to be legally cloned and killed.
“Therapeutic cloning” and “reproductive cloning” are identical forms of human cloning. Regardless of the purpose for which it is used, “therapeutic cloning” is a euphemism and friendly term applied to soften the reception of the fact that human embryos are being cloned and killed.
Public opinion polls do not consistently show overwhelming public support for embryonic stem cell research. In May 2005, International Communications Research, a national research firm headquartered in Media, Pennsylvania, conducted a poll of over 1,000 American adults that showed 52 percent opposed federal funding of embryonic stem cell research with just 36 percent supporting it. A weighted sample of 1,010 American adults were surveyed May 6-11, 2005 with a margin of error of plus or minus three percent.
There are not hundreds of thousands of spare embryos that are going to be “just thrown out.” In fact, more than 85 percent of frozen embryos have been designated for family building purposes, with less than 5 percent designated for research purposes. Of those designated for research purposes, scientists disagree on just how many will actually survive the thawing process.
“We encourage and welcome a forthright discussion on the merits of a human cloning policy change in the State of Michigan and call upon the administration and legislators to address the specific details of such a change. Michigan residents deserve to hear the truth from their elected officials,” said Long.
Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state.