The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) sent a detailed letter to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) outlining the reasons why they oppose the Institute’s plan to rescind a moratorium forbidding federal funding of human/animal chimera embryo research. This research will involve injecting human embryonic stem cells into animal embryos to create beings who will allegedly help scientists to grow human tissue and organs in animals which will aid in studying human development, disease pathology and eventually organ transplantation.Share
However, as the bishops correctly point out, using embryonic stem cells hasn’t worked very well thus far, and this new plan only causes more problems.
“The government has already crossed a significant moral line by treating the destruction of human beings, at a very early stage of development, as the raw material for allegedly useful human embryonic stem cell (ESC) research. Such research has failed to produce treatments for human ailments over the last 17 years, and morally noncontroversial avenues such as adult stem cell and induced pluripotent stem cell research have surpassed ESCs in scientific and clinical benefits,” states the letter, which was written by Anthony Picarello, USCCB associate general secretary and general counsel, and Michael Moses, associate general counsel.
“The government now proposes running roughshod over another basic moral principle, however, by injecting human embryonic stem cells into the embryos of various animal species to create beings who do not fully belong to either the human race or the host animal species.” This presents a serious moral issue. “For if one cannot tell to what extent, if any, the resulting organism may have human status or characteristics, it will be impossible to determine what one’s moral obligations may be regarding that organism.” (Read more.)