Cardinal William Keeler, chairman of the Committee for Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said he was saddened to learn that South Korean scientists have used cloning to create and destroy dozens of human embryos.
While touted as scientific progress, the cardinal said this is a sign of moral regress. Human cloning turns procreation into a manufacturing process, he said, “treating human life as a commodity made to preset specifications.” Using cloning or any means to create innocent human lives solely to destroy them “is an ultimate violation of research ethics.”
Cardinal Keeler said dozens of human embryos were created and destroyed to produce a single stem cell line for further research. In addition, harmful fertility drugs were used on 16 women to produce 242 eggs for the experiment. “These women were used as egg factories while their embryonic offspring were treated as nothing more than objects of research, their human dignity ignored in the name of progress,” he said.
“Science and technology are great human goods when placed at the service of the human person,” said Cardinal Keeler. “Here the opposite occurred. Human beings were treated as products of technology, then used and discarded. If scientists will not voluntarily turn away from this abuse of science, a national and worldwide effort to ban human cloning is more urgently needed than ever.”
“We will all suffer if this type of human experimentation is allowed to go forward,” said U.S. Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.), chairman of the bipartisan Congressional Pro-Life Caucus. “Humans are not guinea pigs. Creating human beings solely for the purpose of destroying them in an experiment is sick in the extreme.”
Smith called for an international ban on human cloning and pleaded with Sen. Orrin Hatch and others in the U.S. Senate to stop blocking a total ban on human cloning to help protect the dignity of human life.
“There is no reason to create human life to destroy it when adult and cord blood stem cells are accessible and are being successfully used to treat human patients,” Smith said. “Mad scientists are still mad scientists no matter how white their lab coats and how many bioethicists, lobbyists and celebrities hawk their wares.”
“Scientists conducting and advocating for human cloning as a means of deriving embryonic stem cells for research are crossing a moral line in their exploitation of the human family,” said Carrie Gordon Earll, Focus on the Family’s senior policy analyst for bioethics. “As a result, a new moral ethic is being embraced: the more vulnerable a human is, the more acceptable it is to destroy.”
Earll said the only way to prevent further scientific exploitation of young cloned humans is for Congress to pass a comprehensive ban on all human cloning as contained in the “Human Cloning Prohibition Act of 2003” passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last year.
The real advances in regenerative medicine are already evident in successful trials and actual therapies utilizing non-embryonic stem cell sources such as bone morrow, umbilical cord blood, the pancreas and brain, she said. “No human life is destroyed in collecting these cells.”
“Creating human life through cloning for the sole purpose of its destruction by extracting stem cells is nothing short of scientific cannibalism, consuming and devouring our young for speculative scientific gain,” Earll said. “It is immoral and unnecessary.”