| 28th August 2002 | Modified: 14th October 2014 | Christianity, News Releases | Seen 24 times

28 August
Aug 28
28th August 2002

Statement from Archbishop Mario Conti Archbishop of Glasgow and member of the Bishops' Joint Bioethics Committee.  

28 August 2002  

"Embryos are not clusters of exploitable cells."  


"The storage of thousands of human embryos is proposed by the Medical  
Research Council, they would be used in the development of gene therapies.  
They are subject to experiments and destroyed.  

These embryos are either "superfluous" i.e.; left over from in-vitro  
fertilisation procedures or created specifically as a bank of such cells.  

Time and time again serious and well-informed commentators, including  
persons within the medical profession have called for a public debate on the  
use of such cells harvested from embryos. Time and time again responsible  
opinion has been ignored and bodies such as the Medical Research Council  
show themselves motivated more by financial than moral considerations.  

These embryos are human beings, whether implanted in the womb and carried to  
term, or reproduced and then destroyed in the laboratory. To create embryos  
or pressurise couples undergoing IVF treatment to donate them purely with  
intent to destroy them soon afterwards, however well intentioned, is morally  
repugnant.  

We do not as a society, have the right to initiate human life only to  
destroy it, whether for selfish purposes, or for purposes, however nobly  
intended, which render that life a means to someone else's ends. Human life  
is not a commodity; a baby is not a product; an embryo is not a cluster of  
exploitable cells.  

Much recent research shows clearly that adult stem cells, in particular bone  
marrow cells, are not only theoretically as potentially therapeutic as  
embryonic stem cells, but have been shown in practice to have a therapeutic  
effect in therapies already being developed. Their use has demonstrated an  
advantage over embryonic stem cells in apparently having an inbuilt control  
mechanism the lack of which in foetal stem cells gives rise to anxiety  
regarding their risk of creating tumours. This is perhaps a case of good  
medicine following good ethical practice, a view I am inclined to think is  
universally true."  

ENDS  

Peter Kearney  
Catholic Media Office  
0141 221 1168  
pk@scmo.org  

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