Calls It a Victory of Politics Over ScienceWASHINGTON, D.C., MARCH 9, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The U.S. bishops' conference pro-life committee chairman is denouncing President Barack Obama's executive order that will allow federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.
Cardinal Justin Rigali issued a response to the U.S. president's order today that will allow federal tax dollars to be used to fund scientists in the destruction of live human embryos to develop stem cells for research.
The cardinal said: "President Obama's new executive order on embryonic stem cell research is a sad victory of politics over science and ethics.
"This action is morally wrong because it encourages the destruction of innocent human life, treating vulnerable human beings as mere products to be harvested.
"It also disregards the values of millions of American taxpayers who oppose research that requires taking human life. Finally, it ignores the fact that ethically sound means for advancing stem cell science and medical treatments are readily available and in need of increased support."
The cardinal also cited a letter written Jan. 16 by Cardinal Francis George, president of the bishops' conference, to Obama, urging him not to allow funding for this research. Cardinal George stated three reasons why this research is "especially pointless at this time."
"First," he wrote, "basic research in the capabilities of embryonic stem cells can be and is being pursued using the currently eligible cell lines as well as the hundreds of lines produced with nonfederal funds since 2001."
He continued: "Second, recent startling advances in reprogramming adult cells into embryonic-like stem cells -- hailed by the journal 'Science' as the scientific breakthrough of the year -- are said by many scientists to be making embryonic stem cells irrelevant to medical progress.
"Third, adult and cord blood stem cells are now known to have great versatility, and are increasingly being used to reverse serious illnesses and even help rebuild damaged organs.
"To divert scarce funds away from these promising avenues for research and treatment toward the avenue that is most morally controversial as well as most medically speculative would be a sad victory of politics over science."
President Obama's action reverses the ban on federal funding for this type of research enacted by former president George W. Bush, who limited the use of taxpayer money to the 21 stem cell lines already developed before his order.
Cardinal George stated, "If the government wants to invest in hope for cures and promote ethically sound science, it should use our tax monies for research that everyone, at every stage of human development, can live with."
© Innovative Media, Inc.