Biology 101:  Embryos from humans are Human Life

Embryonic Stem Cell Research Poll Biased, Promotes False Cures

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 30, 2004

Philadelphia, PA ( -- A new poll on embryonic stem
cell research is being criticized as biased because the question
it uses discusses a potential cure for Alzheimer's that many
researchers say won't result.

Last week, a survey released by the Annenberg Public Policy
Center of the University of Pennsylvania showed 64 percent of
Americans backing the use of federal funds for embryonic stem
cell research.

The question asked whether respondents would "favor or oppose
federal funding of research on diseases like Alzheimer's using
stem cells taken from human embryos."

However, leading researchers say Alzheimer's patients suffering
from the debilitating disease are not likely going to benefit
from embryonic stem cell research.

"Alzheimer's is a more global disease, with an effect on numerous
kinds of cells," Steve Stice, a stem cell researcher at the
University of Georgia, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
newspaper earlier this month. "That makes it much more difficult
for a cell therapy to be effective."

Meanwhile, researcher Marilyn Albert told the Associated Press in
June, "I just think everybody feels there are higher priorities
for seeking effective treatments for Alzheimer's disease and for
identifying preventive strategies."

Albert, a Johns Hopkins University researcher who chairs the
Medical and Scientific Advisory Council of the Alzheimer's
Association, says there are more promising efforts to treat the
disease than waiting on the decades it could take to see results
from embryonic stem cells.

Two other recent polls show a majority of Americans do not want
their tax dollars to be used to pay for embryonic stem cell
research and that they oppose human cloning specifically to
create embryos for the purpose of research.

One poll revealed that 53 percent of respondents opposed "using
tax dollars to pay for the kind of stem cell research that
requires the killing of human embryos," while only 38 percent
support it.

The other shows that Americans overwhelmingly (80 to 13 percent)
oppose the position taken Kerry -- that human cloning should be
allowed to create human embryos only to be destroyed for their
stem cells.

After President Reagan passed away, advocates of embryonic stem
cell research piggybacked their message onto his death, saying
that such research could benefit others who suffer from diseases
such as Alzheimer's.

But one of his sons, Ron Reagan acknowledged that Alzheimer's is
too complicated of a disease to benefit from the controversial

"Alzheimer's is a disease, ironically, that probably won't be
amenable to treatment through stem cell therapies," Reagan
admitted in an interview on MSNBC's "Hardball" on July 12.

No patients have yet shown any benefits as a result of the use of
embryonic stem cells while others have seen remarkable successes
from adult stem cell research.

Pro-life advocates argue that embryonic stem cell research has
not been as successful as research employing adult stem cells.
They oppose embryonic stem cell research because unborn children
in their earliest days must be destroyed to obtain the stem cells

Singapore Allows Human Cloning for Embryonic Stem Cell Research

by Paul Nowak Editor
September 2, 2004

Singapore ( -- Human cloning has been prohibited for
reproductive purposes in Singapore. However, the clone and kill
process condemned by pro-life groups is allowed and the human
embryo must be destroyed in 14 days, according to a law that
passed Thursday.

Penalties for those who break the law were increased to 10 years
in prison.

"There is almost unanimous agreement from the international
community, local scientific and religious groups as well as our
general public that reproductive cloning of human beings is
abhorrent," said junior health minister Balaji Sadasivan in an
address to the parliament.

Singapore, which has been attempting to attract stem cell
researchers to the country, has some of the most lenient
restrictions on biomedical research, and has recently spent over
$1.8 billion into grants, tax breaks, and facilities for

But such measures have also attracted researchers on the fringe
of biotech, such as Alan Colman, who cloned "Dolly" the sheep.
Colman moved to Singapore in 2002.

Some parliament members expressed concern over allowing the
cloning even for research purposes, referred to as therapeutic

Dr. Lily Neo warned the fellow MPs that therapeutic cloning "is a
thin wedge to eproductive cloning" and that research should be
closely monitored lest it be abused "by maverick scientists and
researchers." Neo suggested that adult stem cells, such as those
collected from cord blood, be used in lieu of embryos.

The law specifically prohibits the implantation of a cloned human
embryo into a human or animal womb, as well as the developing of
an embryo outside of a womb for more than 14 days. Penalties
include up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to S$100,000
($58,000 USD).

By prohibiting implantation, reproductive cloning can be banned.
However, the law also mandates that any cloned human embryo must
be destroyed. Pro-life groups say that means unique human beings
will be killed.

Pro-life organizations have criticized the growing interest in
embryonic stem cell research, as it invovles the destruction of a
human embryo to harvest stem cells that have not shown any
scientific evidence of being medically useful. Adult stem cells,
however, have proven to be useful in treating various diseases,
and do not require the destruction of a human life.

Focus on the Family founder and chairman Dr. James Dobson
recently called the media's coverage of stem cell research a

"To ignore the scientific realities, to fail to report that
embryonic stem-cell research is the less promising course of
action, to allow people who are suffering to develop false hope
about possible treatment breakthroughs, is an unconscionable
betrayal of the public trust," Dobson said.

In the United States, President Bush put forward an executive
order preventing taxpayer funding of any new embryonic stem cell
research. Despite presidential candidate John Kerry saying the
policy amounts to a ban on funding, the Bush administration has
backed adult stem cell research with $190 million of federal

Currently, New Jersey has the most extreme pro-cloning
legislation in effect in the U.S., allowing for the cloning,
implantation, and destruction of human life from the embryonic
through the newborn stages of prenatal development, funded by
state taxes.

On Wednesday, September 22 -- and continuing for the next six
weeks leading up Election Day November 2 -- Priests for Life will
begin airing a historic six-part television program on Mother

California Groups Opposing Embryonic Stem Cell Research Measure Get $

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 6, 2004

Sacramento, CA ( -- Opponents of a measure that
would spend billions of taxpayer dollars on destructive embryonic
stem cell research are finally obtaining funds to fight against
the proposal. But, the money may be too little too late to battle
the proposal's backers, whose campaign coffers are overflowing
with millions of dollars.

Last week, the Catholic Church and a California businessman each
contributed $50,000 to groups that are fighting Proposition 71.
The measure would have the state borrow $3 billion to pay for the
contrversial research and eventually cost taxpayers $6 billion
once interest in included.

To stop the measure, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and
Christian businessman Howard Ahmanson Jr. provided two anti-Prop
71 groups with their only signifciant funding.

Together, they have raised only $115,000 to combat the $12
million from the measure's proponents.

"We believe life begins at the moment of conception," Sister Mary
Ann Walash, a USCCB spokeswoman, told the Associated Press. "Stem
cell research involves the taking of a human life."

The USCCB donation went to a new committee organized by the
California Catholic Conference. Carol Hogan told AP that the
statewide Catholic group is also expected to put some money into
the committee, called Californians Against Loan and Clone.

Ahmanson, an banking heir, sent a $50,000 contribution to
Doctors, Patients & Taxpayers for Fiscal Responsibility, the
official group opposing Proposition 71.

Despite a poll showing California voters evenly split over the
issue of using billions of taxpayer funds to pay for unproven
embryonic stem cell research, proponents of the ballot measure
have accumulated a vast war chest to promote their effort.

The amass of wealth got a boost from a $500,000 donation from the
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and a $100,000 contribution
from Senator John Corzine, a wealthyNew Jersey Democrat.

With the recent donation, JDRF has now spent $1 million on
Proposition 71 -- money that detractors say could have been used
to provide grants to adult stem cell researchers.

Despite the inordinate amounts spent to promote the proposal, a
poll earlier this month showed California voters aren't
enthusiastically embracing spending so much money on unproven
research at a time when the state is still reeling from financial

The California Field Poll showed 45 percent of the 1,034 voters
polled were planning to vote "yes" on the measure, while 42
percent were planning to vote "no." Thirteen percent of
respondents were undecided.

But, that may change next month when backers of Prop 71 begin
spending their millions on television commercials.

Related web sites:
Proposition 71 Voters' Guide -
California Catholic Conference -

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Embryonic Stem Cell Research Poll Criticized as Extremely Biased
by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 20, 2004

Washington, DC ( -- Pro-life organizations are
criticizing a Harris Poll on embryonic stem cell research, saying
it mischaracterizes the process by which embryonic stem cells are
obtained and falsely promises cures for diseases that may not

The Harris Poll found that 73 percent of respondents favor
embryonic stem cell research and only 11 percent opposing the
grisly practice.

However, the poll only said that embryonic stem cells were
obtained from "embryos left over from in vitro fertilization" and
that "many medical researchers want to use them to develop
treatments, or to prevent diseases, such as diabetes, Alzheimer's
or Parkinson's disease."

"This is one of the most dishonest polls I've ever seen," Richard
Doerflinger, of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, told

"It simply ignores the current issue, which is whether federal
funds should be used to encourage the killing of human embryos to
make new stem cell lines," Doerflinger explained. "Instead it
asks whether stem cell research should be 'allowed,' and refuses
to mention the central fact that it means destroying embryos."

Douglas Johnson of the National Right to Life Committee says
those surveyed are led to believe that the embryos are already

Johnson told that they are not told that scientists
also want to specifically clone human embryos for the sole
purpose of killing them for research.

In fact, only three percent of the human embryos left over from
in vitro fertilization are available for research and most are
not destroyed, according to Doerflinger.

Some of the human embryos left over from in vitro procedures are
available to be adopted and adoption agencies have touted such
adoptions as a way to maneuver past the often difficult and
time-consuming process of adopting a baby or child already born.

Pro-life groups also criticized the Harris Poll question for
promising cures for diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

Alzheimer's researchers say embryonic stem cell research is
nowhere close to helping patients and likely won't yield a cure
for the debilitating disease.

"Alzheimer's is a more global disease, with an effect on numerous
kinds of cells," Steve Stice, a stem cell researcher at the
University of Georgia, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
newspaper earlier this month. "That makes it much more difficult
for a cell therapy to be effective."

"I just think everybody feels there are higher priorities for
seeking effective treatments for Alzheimer's disease and for
identifying preventive strategies," Marilyn Albert told the
Associated Press in June.

Albert, a Johns Hopkins University researcher who chairs the
Medical and Scientific Advisory Council of the Alzheimer's
Association, says there are more promising efforts to treat the
disease than waiting on the decades it could take to see results
from embryonic stem cells.

"All reputable experts admit that turning this research into
treatments, if possible at all, would have to reach beyond these
"spare" embryos to mass-produce new embryos for destruction,"
Doerflinger concluded.

"Of course, the poll nowhere mentions that for the other diseases
mentioned -- Parkinson's and diabetes -- other avenues that pose
no moral problem are far closer to producing treatments,"
Doerflinger said.

Though released earlier this week, the Harris Poll was conducted
from July 12-14.

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Embryonic Stem Cell Research Companies Struggling to Survive

Washington, DC -- In the latest blow to the already staggering field of
embryonic stem cell research, a pioneering scientist is quitting Advanced
Cell Technology and abandoning his work trying to clone human embryos.

Jose Cibelli is joining the faculty of Michigan State University, where he
will set up a $1 million animal biotechnology lab. For Cibelli, 39, it means
giving up the experiments to which he's devoted the last five years of his
life, since it's illegal in Michigan to create and destroy human embryos for
research purposes.

This comes as a pleasant surprise to pro-life advocates -- as ACT had been
leading the way in promoting the unethical research involving the destruction
of human mebryos.

Money and manpower is draining from the field following President Bush's vow
15 months ago to refusing taxpayer funding to any new embryonic stem cell
research. On the other hand, the effectiveness and profitability of adult
stem cell research continues to build and faces no opposition from pro-life

Private funding is nearly nonexistent for embryonic stem cell research and
federal monies can only support research on existing stem cell lines.
Obtaining the cells themselves remains exceedingly difficult even for top
researchers because of political and intellectual property disputes or the
poor quality of the cells themselves.

Of the 78 stem cell colonies worldwide the Bush administration has said are
eligible for federally funded research, only about a dozen are in good enough
shape to experiment on. Even fewer - perhaps four lines - are being shared
and sent to other researchers.

The seven National Institutes of Health-approved lines in India, for
instance, can't be shipped because of that country's laws. Geron Inc., which
has seven lines at its Menlo Park, Calif. headquarters, won't ship any of its
lines unless researchers agree to sign over any discoveries to the company.

For now, researchers generally have but two suppliers to call on, the
University of California, San Francisco or the University of Wisconsin. Both
are overwhelmed by demand, slowing distribution.

All of this has investors shunning stem cell companies like the plague.

"It's going to take some time before this very important area of research
makes it through the political obstacle course," said Steven Burrill, a
biotech venture capitalist.

Advanced Cell, based in Worcester, Mass., temporarily suspended Cibelli's
human cloning efforts for lack of money, and also sold its cattle-cloning
subsidiary, Cyagra LLC, to raise cash.

Geron, the Menlo Park, Calif.-based industry leader, laid off a third of its
work force and cut research spending to bolster its lagging stock price.

Edinburgh, Scotland-based PPL Therapeutics, which helped clone Dolly the
sheep, recently announced its stem cell program had "no value" and shuttered
it after finding no buyers.

To conserve cash, tiny CyThera Inc., which holds nine of the 78
government-approved stem cell lines, shares a fax machine with a neighbor and
leases excess space in its San Diego labs to other companies.

CyThera's cells, which have been stored in a company freezer, could be
scientifically worthless, having never been sufficiently examined. An
ownership fight over the cells, which were first isolated by researcher
Jeanne Loring of Arcos Bioscience, was finally resolved in August.

"No research has been done on them," said chief scientific officer E. Edward
Baetge of CyThera, which purchased Arcos. "It's still not clear that any
viable stem cell lines are going to come out of it."

At Advanced Cell, which is still determined to clone human embryos to harvest
stem cells, chief executive Michael West said he lost at least one potential
investor in the political fallout over human cloning. Organizers closed an
influential stem cell conference in San Diego to the media last month for
fear of bad publicity.

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:  Embryonic Stem Cell Research Companies Struggling to Survive
Source:   Associated Press; November 15, 2002

Kentucky University's Success Shows Embryonic Stem Cells Unneeded
by Michael Janocik

[Pro-Life Infonet Note:  Michael Janocik is the assistant director of the
Right to Life Educational Foundation of Kentucky.]

The Right to Life Educational Foundation of Kentucky enthusiastically
congratulates the University of Louisville on its recent success in the
field of adult stem cell research. We are hopeful about its potential to
cure Parkinson's and spinal-cord injuries. U of L scientists will now add
their achievement to the long and growing list of discoveries attesting to
the possibilities of adult stem cell research.

We are elated by this progress, but not surprised. For years we have
championed the potential therapeutic benefits of adult stem cell research
as a morally acceptable alternative to embryonic stem cell research, which
destroys the lives of tiny human beings.

It is noteworthy that U of L's achievement is reported in the wake of the
human cloning battle in Frankfort, in which the university played a
prominent role in defeating anti-cloning legislation. The pro-cloner's
argued that banning human cloning would force Kentucky universities into
the last century and hinder them from attracting top-drawer scientists and
limited research money.

Yet apparently, without human cloning technology, U of L has stepped into
the future with some of the finest scientists in the country. This is the
first of many ironies.

While the pro-cloning lobby was deceiving Kentucky legislators that it is
necessary to allow human cloning, some of its own scientists, just 50 miles
away, were pursuing successful alternatives which demonstrate that it is

While the Courier-Journal of Louisville was reporting that the universities
would lose research money if Kentucky banned human cloning, research on
adult stem cells at U of L was advancing and has now garnered considerable
public and private funding.

While the an editorial in the Louisville newspaper was rebuking
"anti-abortion extremists" for destroying hope, the hope of adult stem cell
research was flourishing, and now there is hope to cure Parkinson's and
spinal cord injuries without destroying human life.

While pro-cloners were searching for results to buoy their "therapeutic
cloning" speculations, real advances in stem cell research occurred within
the walls of their own institution.

While cloning sympathizers were mocking pro-lifers as uncompassionate
zealots for trumpeting the morally acceptable alternative of adult stem
cell research, scientists at U of L were investing their compassion and
resources into that which those "zealots" proposed.

As remarkable as it is, U of L's success is only one of hundreds of
promising adult stem cell discoveries all around the world.

Nevertheless, its triumph is still muted with the caveat, "but scientists
believe the embryonic stem cells hold more promise." Never mind the fact
that embryonic stem cells have never developed, let alone been extracted,
from cloned human embryos.

The bioethical debate surrounding human cloning and embryonic stem cell
research compels us to consider at least two important things:

•  First, that adult stem cell research provides a feasible, even superior,
morally acceptable alternative to human cloning research.

•  Second, the debate has nothing to do with abortion.

Pro-cloners persist in characterizing the debate as the compassionate
scientific community against the "anti-abortion zealots." The strategy is
as hackneyed as it is cowardly — turn your opponents into monsters so you
can ignore their arguments. Admittedly, they have employed it with some
success, but in the end the strategy must crumble: As U of L's success
shows, the truth does prevail.

Pro-lifers recognize, respect and defend every human being's inalienable
right to life.

It should come as no surprise that those who respect human life in the womb
do so also in the laboratory. We know that an assault on any innocent human
life is an assault on every human life.

Our human dignity requires that we strive for solutions that respect the
inestimable value of every human being. If we fail in that endeavor by
employing a utilitarian philosophy in the service of killing some to help
others, we will have revoked our claim to freedom and equality.

As the front of human cloning is opened in the war on human dignity, it is
tempting to despair that we have forfeited those claims. But U of L's
success gives us hope that we can achieve great things while respecting the
right to life of each human being.

We urge U of L to relentlessly pursue the morally superior avenue of adult
stem cell research and we want nothing less than a complete restoration of
the health of those who live with unspeakable suffering. By rejecting the
utilitarian seductions of human cloning research we will go a long way
toward the restoration of our dignity.

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:   Kentucky University's Success Shows Embryonic Stem Cells Unneeded
Source:   Kentucky Post; August 15, 2002

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Women's Thyroid Stem Cells eyed as alternative resource
by Michael Lasalandra  (BOSTON HERALD - Dec. 14, 2001)
Boston - Researchers at New England Medical Center say they have found evidence of fetal stem cells in the thyroids of adult women and say the findings could offer another source of the cells that may be able to be used as sources of replacement parts or new tissues.
    "We want people to consider that in the stem cell debate there may be another interpretation," said Dr. Diana Bianchi, chief of the NEMC/Floating Hospital department of genetics.
    In 1996, researchers found fetal stem cells floating around in the blood of women who previously had been pregnant.  The cells were left over from their babies.
    In  a new paper, to be published tomorrow in the LANCET, Bianchi reported finding evidence of fetal stem cells in the thyroids of adult women who had once been pregnant.  In 16 of the 29 women studied, fetal cells were found in the thyroid containing the Y chromosome, indicating they were from their babies.  In one of the women, researchers found fully differentiated male thyroid cells attached to the rest of the thyroid.
    In essence, "one part of her thyroid was male and one part was female," Bianchi said.
    The finding could indicate that the stem cells made a new thyroid.
     "Just because fetal stem cells are in the blood doesn't mean they are capable of doing anything," she said.  "Now, we see cells making a thyroid."  She said the finding could mean that scientists may not have to rely on embryos as sources of stem cells.  "Our study offers hope for finding those valuable cells in adult women, thus advancing research without ethical complications," she said.

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New Study shows Dangers of Embryonic Stem Cell

Embryonic Stem Cell Research Alternatives Exist:  Use Them
by Michael Fumento

[Pro-Life Infonet Note:  Michael Fumento is a Washington writer completing
a book titled "BioEvolution: How Biotechnology Is Changing Our World."]

"Bloody rotten timing," as the Brits might say. On July 24, researchers in
Rostock, Germany, announced that two weeks before they had successfully
transplanted stem cells into the heart of a man whom, they report, is now
doing well.

The problem? The cells came from the man's own marrow. No embryos were
harmed in the making of this miracle.

What bloody awful news. It does nothing to help the full-court press to
force the Bush administration to lift the funding ban on embryonic stem
cell experimentation.

Which is why you've probably heard about the German experiment for the
first and last time.

You see, over the last few months there has been a desperate effort to
convince us that either (A), the ban covers all stem cell research, (B)
the only type of stem cell is from embryos, or (C) if you have heard about
non-embryonic cells, trust us, they're not worth spit.

What the Ban-Lift Bunch has on its side is celebrities like Christopher
Reeve and Nancy Reagan, nice people who either have or live with persons
with severe physical problems. But they don't exactly have medical

The Ban-Lift Bunch also has full media support.

Consider a recent issue of Newsweek, putting what it wants you to think is
the entire argument right on the cover.

"The Stem Cell Wars," declare the boldest words. "Embryo Research vs.
Pro-Life Politics: There's Hope for Alzheimer's, Heart Disease,
Parkinson's and Diabetes. But Will Bush Cut Off the Money?"

Get it? It's pro-life fanatics vs. science, pro-life fanatics versus the

But actually it's science, not abortion opponents, making the case for
non-embryonic cells. Overwhelmingly, the incredible breakthroughs in stem
cell research have involved NON-embryonic stem cells.

* A recent report in New Scientist described the successful use of stem
cells from adult human hair follicles to create skin grafts.

* Two studies in Nature Medicine reported that nonembryonic stem cells
injected into rodents can transform themselves naturally into neurons and
insert themselves into the brain, giving hope to persons with Parkinson's
and other disorders. A third study found that injecting a chemical into
damaged areas of rats' brains stimulated stem cells to grow and
differentiate into a massive number of normal, fully developed nerves. The
cells were able to repair damage and restore mobility to the rodents.

* At least four rodent studies and one pig study have shown that
nonembryonic stem cells can be injected into animals with damaged hearts
and repair heart tissue.

* As reported in Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, rats with degraded
retinas were injected with nonembryonic stem cells that traveled to the
site of damage, which then showed signs of making connections with the
optic nerve and hence improve or even restore vision.

* Johns Hopkins School of Medicine researchers injected nonembryonic stem
cells into the spinal fluid of paralyzed mice and rats, half of which
partially or fully recovered.

* Cells from liposuctioned fat (North America's most plentiful resource)
have been transformed into bone, muscle, cartilage and mature fat cells,
according to the journal Tissue Engineering.

Time and again, scientists involved in non-embryonic stem cell work,
including even some who say they support lifting the funding ban, have
commented that one of the important results of their and others' findings
is that they would bypass the emotion-charged embryonic tissue debate.
Among them:

* Dr. Donald Orlic of the National Genome Research Institute told NBC News
in late March that, "We are currently finding that these adult stem cells
can function as well, perhaps even better than, embryonic stem cells."

* Eric Olson, chair of the Department of Molecular Biology at the
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center say that almost "every
other week there's another interesting finding of adult cells turning into
neurons or blood cells or heart muscle cells. Apparently our traditional
views need to be re-evaluated."

* Markus C. Grompe, a professor of molecular medical genetics at Oregon
Health Sciences University said of one study: "This would suggest that
maybe you don't need any type of fetal stem cell at all . . . that our
adult bodies continue to have stem cells that can do this stuff."

One of the richest sources of cells that are not adult, but more
importantly are nonembyronic, are umbilical cords and placentas from live
births. Each year, more than 4 million umbilical cords are simply
discarded. Connected end-to-end, they would stretch further than from New
York to Houston.

Stem cells from newborns are not only available in unlimited amounts,
there's also reason to think they may be far more versatile than the other
nonembryonic cells used in the aforementioned studies.

But it's not just that embryonic cells are unneeded; pragmatism counsels
that they should be shunned.

Much of the current fear over therapeutic human biotechnology comes from
angst over embryonic stem cell research, expressed across the spectrum of
the abortion debate. Rightly or wrongly, use of embryonic cells invokes
visions of Dr. Josef Mengele and a spooky slippery slope toward playing
around with human life.

Maintaining the ban on embryonic stem cell research while we continue to
watch the fantastic results pour in from nonembryonic stem cell work will
leap right over this moral chasm. This action will not just promote stem
cell research, but prove invaluable to all future therapeutic genetic
research and the vast promise it holds.

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:   Embryonic Stem Cell Research Alternatives Exist:  Use Them
Source:   Washington Times; July 31, 2001

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  New Study shows Dangers of Embryonic Stem Cell

Washington, DC -- A new study published in the journal Science today
reports that embryonic stem cells used in cloning mice often result in
severe abnormalities, a finding that strengthens the belief of many
scientists that the technique used to clone Dolly the sheep should not be
used on humans.

``This study confirms the suspicions of many of us that cloning of humans
would be really dangerous,'' said Rudolf Jaenisch, senior author of the
study and a researcher at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Cloned mice created with embryonic stem cells may look normal but often
have subtle abnormalities, scientists reported on Thursday. The finding
could lend support to those pro-life people who oppose embryonic stem cell

In cloned humans, Jaenisch said the gene expression flaws could affect
personality, intelligence and other human attributes.

"The simplistic warning is clearly you can make cloned animals with
problems (with embryonic stem cells); whether this will apply to other
donor cell types remains to be seen," David Humphreys of the Whitehead
Institute said.

Researchers found that these cells might carry unexpected risks when used
to reproduce organisms -- like cloned mice. Stem cells are early cells not
yet specifically earmarked to become any one part of the body, so they can
develop into most any kind of cell the body needs, and as a result can be
used in so-called reproductive cloning.

Many of the cloned mice created in research at the Whitehead Institute and
the University of Hawaii developed abnormally, even though they made it
through pregnancy, birth and in some cases to adulthood. The problem did
not lie in the cloning process, but rather in the makeup of the embryonic
stem cells, which were found to be extremely unstable in laboratory

The genes themselves were not at fault. However, the embryonic stem cells
lost the tags that were supposed to tell the genes whether to turn on or
off during development, the researchers found. This meant that two mice
cloned from the "sister" embryonic stem cells might have differences in
the way their genes were expressed.

Dr. David A. Prentice, an Indiana State University professor of life
sciences, said the MIT-Whitehead study shows the hazards of the current
cloning technology.

``Development is a finely orchestrated ballet of cells forming tissues and
organs at the right place and time,'' said Prentice. ``It takes only one
going awry at the wrong time and place to have a seriously flawed

The results of the recent study, conducted by the Whitehead Institute for
Biomedical Research and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, echo
the dangers posed by non-cloning embryonic stem cell research.

In a June 14 letter to President Bush, Family Research Council president
Ken Connor warned of the hazards of stem cell research:

"Unchecked cell growth is a significant issue in embryonic stem cell
research as well (as in fetal tissue research).  As a consequence, some
researchers are concluding that tissue-specific stem cells harvested from
adult sources may prove to be a far more effective mode of treatment than
pluripotent stem cells harvested from human embryos. As University of
Pennsylvania bioethicist Glenn McGee was quoted in the January-February
issue of Technology Review, 'The emerging truth in the lab is that
pluripotent stem cells are hard to rein in. The potential that they would
explode into a cancerous mass after a stem cell transplant might turn out
to be the Pandora's Box of stem cell research."

"The study concerning cloning and embryonic stem cell research is further
evidence that the government should only support research that is ethical
and shows the most promise, such as adult stem cell research.  Human
embryonic stem cell research does not fit this bill," Ken Connor said.
"We urge the president to remain true to his pledge to oppose federal
funding of research that involves the destruction of an embryonic human

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:   New Study Shows Dangers of Embryonic Stem Cell Cloning
Source:   Associated Press, Reuters, Family Research Council; July 6, 2001

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *
Cloning Debate Proves Embryo Stem Cell Research "Bait and Switch"
by Wesley J. Smith
National Review; August 3, 2001

[Pro-Life Infonet Note:  Wesley J. Smith is the author of Culture of
Death: The Assault on Medical Ethics in America, recently named the Best
Health Book of the Year by the Independent Publishers Group. You can
purchase his many books on medical ethics issues in the books section of]

Bait and switch has been one of the primary tactics of the Brave New
Worlders who see some forms of human life as merely an exploitable and
profitable natural resource, ripe for the harvest. But before they can
begin reaping what they hope to sow, they must first push past the
reluctance of the American people to permit human life to be commodified
and objectified. That's where embryonic-stem-cell research (ESCR) comes

In order to get the American people to step off the ethical cliff,
advocates all but promise a miraculous tomorrow in which people with
Parkinson's disease, Lou Gehrig's disease, quadriplegia, and most of the
other maladies that afflict humankind take the embryonic-stem-cell cure.
Never mind that adult and alternative sources of stem cells offer similar
potential without the ethical and moral price. All that stands between
sick people and renewed health, we are told repeatedly, is the Dickey
Amendment that currently bans federal funding of destructive research on

To get around the problem, proponents of ESCR convinced former President
Clinton to implement a very clever Clintonesque maneuver: The government
would circumvent the legal proscription by "only" funding research on
embryonic stem cells that had already been destroyed using private funds.
As an added inducement, the Clinton regulations would restrict federal
funding to stem cells taken from embryos that were already doomed for the
trash being in excess of need after IVF fertility treatments.

This argument resonated deeply with the populace -- and most especially
the media -- by appealing to the deep pragmatism in the American
character. If these blastocysts -- no larger than the period at the end of
this sentence, as the pro-ESCR advocacy slogan goes -- are to be destroyed
anyway, why not help Christopher Reeve, Mary Tyler Moore and Michael J.
Fox find cures for their respective maladies?

But a funny thing happened on the way to the federal funding of ESCR.
Human cloning reared its ugly head as the House of Representatives voted
in a strong bipartisan fashion to outlaw both "reproductive" and
"therapeutic" cloning. The angry reaction of scientists and media types to
the House vote demonstrated that many of those pushing ESCR have no
intention whatsoever limiting themselves to dissecting IVF embryos.

In truth, there is no difference between reproductive and therapeutic
cloning. There is only cloning. The distinction is actually about what is
done with the cloned human life after it is manufactured. If it is
researched upon and destroyed, that is called therapeutic cloning -- as if
it does the clone any good. If it is implanted and brought to birth, that
is called reproductive cloning. And herein lies the second great bait and
switch being perpetrated by the Brave New Worlders upon the American

Yes, they say loudly, we should ban reproductive cloning, for now. (No
sacrifice there. The science isn't advanced enough to permit a human clone
to be born.) But banning therapeutic cloning, well (huff, puff) that would
be anti-science; that will drive our best and brightest researchers out of
the country to where they can pursue their research unhindered by
religious fanatics! As the August 2, 2001 editorial in the Los Angeles
Times opined more calmly, federal law should "bar scientists from cloning
embryos to create a child while still allowing them to transfer DNA into
an egg to, for example, create pancreatic cells that won't be rejected
after being put into a diabetic's body."

Finally, the jig is up! What the cloning debate has finally smoked out, as
the Times editorialists admit using typically obscure language, is that
human cloning is a necessary adjunct to ESCR. That means
embryonic-stem-cell research would not be limited to IVF embryos. No
indeed. Scientists will have to clone embryos in the same way ranchers
breed cattle or fish farmers breed salmon if the research is to be applied
in clinical medicine.

Proof of this long-intentionally-obscured truth is found in the stock
market's reaction to the anti-cloning triumph in the House. If IVF were
the only embryos targeted in ESCR, a ban on cloning shouldn't matter. But
capitalists have a funny way of allowing their investments to speak the
unvarnished truth. Euphemistic arguments, bait and switch tactics, claims
that embryos out of a womb aren't really embryos in order to gain
political cover, don't matter a Canadian penny with the investor class.
All that counts is whether money will be made or lost.

And now, the Money has spoken. In the wake of the House vote, the stock
values of biotech corporations involved in ESCR plunged: Geron Corp of
Menlo Park, California fell 8 percent in the wake of the House vote.
Aastrom Biosciences Inc., of Ann Arbor, Michigan, fell 5 percent.
StemCells Inc. stock fell a whopping 16 percent.

When asked why the sell off, a stock analyst told Reuters a simple truth:
"The perception in the market is that the climate in the U.S. is not
conducive to these companies to be successful." In other words, human
cloning will be required for ESCR to be profitable.

But the American people overwhelmingly oppose human cloning. So, herein
lies a great opportunity. Opponents of federally funding ESCR must quickly
and forcefully exploit the opening created by the House vote and adhere
human cloning Super Glue-like to embryonic-stem-cell research in the
public's consciousness. This should be followed up with an energetic and
repeated emphasis on the many research breakthroughs occurring on almost a
daily basis with adult stem cells. (For example, ignored in the mainstream
media, the July 19, 2001 Harvard University Gazette reported that adult
stem cells affected a "permanent reversal" of Type 1 diabetes in mice. The
adult cells regenerated organs destroyed by scientists in order to
eradicate the disease. Hello, Mary Tyler Moore! Are you listening?) Such
an approach would be both intellectually honest and a potentially winning
end-game strategy.

So, let President Bush continue to ponder deeply. Well he should. Given
sufficient time, truth will win out, paving the way for a truly beneficent
medical future in which we get the benefits of stem cell therapy without
the need to sacrifice and objectify human life.                                          

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:  Cloning Debate Proves ESCR "Bait and Switch"
Source:   National Review; August 3, 2001

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *
                 Pro-lifers going wobbly on stem  cell
By  David Limbaugh

               © 2001

                 Pro-lifers who are opposed to human
                 embryonic stem cell research are not being
                 fanatical, but consistent and principled. But
                 pro-lifers in favor of such research are on shaky

                 Since I arrived at the belief that life begins at
                 conception, I have had difficulty
                 comprehending the logic of arguments in favor
                 of abortion, except in those cases where the
                 mother's life is genuinely in jeopardy. To me, all
                 other justifications – no matter how
                 compellingly and emotionally presented – fall

                 That is to say, human life trumps everything
                 else, except other human life. Period. I'm not
                 trying to be dogmatic here, nor even to
                 proselytize you pro-choicers. The point of this
                 column is not to convince you that life begins at
                 conception (though the contrary view
                 admittedly strikes me as inconceivable – no pun

                 Rather, I'm speaking to you pro-lifers who've
                 fallen off the life wagon. Stem cell research is
                 wrong if in the process human embryos are
                 discarded, i.e., killed. It doesn't matter if the
                 research involves potentially life-saving cures,
                 though that is an emotionally appealing
                 argument. It doesn't matter that we are currently
                 destroying "surplus" embryos. It's either killing
                 or it isn't; the fact that we are already killing is
                 shameful, not an argument that justifies the

                 Certain pro-life advocates, such as Sen. Orrin
                 Hatch, are contending that there is no
                 inconsistency in their position. Despite what
                 they have been arguing for years alongside their
                 pro-life colleagues, they now contend that life
                 begins not at conception, but when the embryo
                 is implanted in the mother's womb. They seem
                 to be falling prey to the seductiveness of the
                 pro-choice appeal.

                 Pro-choicers have long been rationalizing that a
                 zygote, morula, blastocyst, embryo or fetus is
                 not worthy of legal protection (at least from its
                 own mother) until it reaches a certain stage.
                 Different choicers draw the lines at different
                 points, e.g., "viability," etc. But this very act of
                 line drawing, such as the United States Supreme
                 Court did in Roe v. Wade, demonstrates its own
                 arbitrary absurdity. How can anyone
                 countenance arbitrariness about life itself?

                 Now, the pro-lifers who have recently been
                 "enlightened" to the notion that life begins not at
                 conception – forget their myriad past
                 pronouncements on the issue – but at
                 implantation, are engaging in that dangerous
                 line-drawing themselves. And their logic will
                 not hold up, no matter how benignly motivated.

                 Many of them want stem cell research to
                 proceed so badly that they are willing to close
                 their eyes to the implications of snuffing out a
                 frozen embryo. It's too primitive in its
                 development, they say – too invisible to be
                 considered human life, much less afforded legal
                 protection. It's easy to opt for human research
                 that could lead to life-saving cures when you
                 don't allow yourself to face the fact that human
                 life is being forfeited in the process. It's nearly
                 impossible if you do.

                 Could it be that these pro-lifers are allowing
                 their emotions to overcome their reason? People
                 do it all the time, as illustrated by an e-mail I
                 recently received.

                 The e-mailer took issue with my last column,
                 championing gun rights. He said that in his
                 extended family, three out of four family units
                 who owned guns had "been visited by gun
                 violence. ... Of the other tens of families that
                 don't have guns, none has been the victim of
                 gun violence. None."

                 I responded that although I was sorry for his
                 family's personal experiences, I didn't believe it
                 would be prudent to make society-wide
                 decisions on the basis of them. Never mind that
                 with all three incidents (an accidental leg injury,
                 an accidental death and a suicide) another
                 weapon or instrument could have been used.
                 What about the hundreds of thousands (some
                 say millions) of injuries, deaths and thefts that
                 are prevented each year by the defensive use of
                 weapons? What about freedom?

                 It is natural and understandable for individuals
                 to make moral judgments primarily on the basis
                 of their own personal situations and
                 experiences, but it is irresponsible for a society
                 to do so. The fact that the e-mailer's family
                 encountered tragic experiences with guns is
                 unfortunate and sad, but it is certainly no basis
                 upon which to make policy. Similarly, the fact
                 that certain politicians and their families have
                 been traumatized by debilitating and deadly
                 illnesses is not sufficient reason to rationalize
                 away the human status of an embryo.

                 As tempting as it may be to support potentially
                 life-saving embryonic stem-cell research, now is
                 not the time for pro-lifers to go wobbly on life.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *
Senators Frist and Hatch Refuse Invitation to Debate Embryo Stem Cell Research

Washington, DC -- -- Family Research Council and Rep. David Weldon sent
letters to both Sen. Bill Frist and Sen. Orrin Hatch inviting them to
participate in a public discussion on the current debate over embryonic
stem cell research (ESCR).  Sen. Bill Frist said no.  Sen. Orrin Hatch
said he didn't have time until the end of August.  Today, Connie G.
Mackey, Vice President of Government Affairs, of FRC sent the following
invite to the remaining 59 U.S. Senators who say they support ESCR:

We are at a crossroads in the history of humankind.  We find ourselves in
a debate about the ways in which we view ourselves, the manner in which
life is regarded and how we will interact with the scientific community as
it hurdles down the path of medical advances.

The American public has an important place in this debate, it is their tax
dollars that would potentially fund embryonic stem cell research.  The
information people require to arrive at their own personal opinion is
complicated and is, in so many cases, shaped by those whose interests may
or may not serve the larger questions of life.

On Tuesday, July 17 in a hearing before the House Government Reform
subcommittee, Representative Dave Weldon, a medical doctor who opposes
federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, welcomed and challenged
anyone to debate him on the scientific, medical, ethical and moral points
of this issue. To date, not one of the most high profile defenders of
embryonic stem cell research in Congress has accepted the challenge to
debate Dr. Weldon, despite our efforts to arrange such an event.  Thus
far, each of them has turned down the opportunity to explain their
position to the American public.

Family Research Council invites you to a public dialogue on the issue of
Embryonic Stem Cell Research on Wednesday, August 1 or Thursday, August 2
at 9:00 a.m. on Capitol Hill.  We will facilitate this event to
accommodate the schedules of the participants.  Family Research Council
will arrange a location and handle invitations to all interested parties,
including members of the press, in order that the greatest number of
people may have the benefit of hearing an educated discussion on all
aspects of this contentious issue. In the interest of fairness, we have
asked organizations that are in favor of embryonic stem cell research,
such as the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and the Parkinson's Action
Network to submit questions for the dialogue and be cosponsors with us.

We look forward to working with your staff with regard to arrangements and
hope you will accept our invitation and help us arrive at a moral
conclusion to this wrenching debate.

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:   Senators Frist and Hatch Refuse Invitation to Debate ESCR
Source:   Family Research Council; July 27, 2001

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *
House Speaker Suggests Opposition to Funding Embryo Stem Cell Research

Washington, DC -- Speaker of the House of Representatives Dennis Hastert
on Sunday suggested he opposes federal funding of embryonic stem cell
research. Further, he said the American people could accept President
Bush's decision if it is based on more than politics.

"I think what the American people want him to do is to look at this issue,
reason it through and come up with good, solid evidence for the decision
he's made. I think that's what they expect of him and they should expect
no less," said Congressman Dennis Hastert (R-IL), speaker of the U.S.
House of Representatives.

During last year's presidential campaign and as recently as last May,
Presient Bush asserted his strong opposition to research "that involves
destroying living human embryos."

As he approaches an actual decision, Bush, pressured by all sides in what
has become an extremely emotional debate, is said to be uncertain about
which way he will go.

"I he's trying to find the right answer," Hastert told NBC Television's
"Meet the Press."

Hastert seemed to take a stand both against embryonic stem cell research
and its funding.

"I personally am pro-life. I think taking embryos, which is taking and
killing those embryos, certainly doesn't go along with that
sanctity-of-life issue that I think is important," the congressman said.
"I don't think at this point there ought to be federal funding," he said,
but added: "I want to look at all the debate before I make solid that

Hastert stressed the need to look at alternatives, such as research on
adult human stem cells.

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:  House Speaker Suggests Opposition to Funding ESCR
Source:   Reuters; July 29, 2001

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *
Facts Left Out of Embryo Stem Cell Research Debate
by Betsy Hart

[Pro-Life Infonet Note:  Betsy Hart is a contributor to Jewish World
Review and a frequent commentator on CNN and the Fox News Channel.]

I wasn't surprised to see actress Mary Tyler Moore on Chris Matthew's
"Hardball" show extolling the breathtaking benefits that belong, alone
according to her, to embryonic stem cell research.

It's easy to see why people desperately want to believe that research
currently in play would restore the health of those with chronic,
degenerative or deadly diseases. (Moore herself struggles with diabetes.)
My own mother succumbed with lightning speed to the cancer multiple
myeloma six years ago - and how I would have loved to have believed that a
cure was imminent.

Such fundamental human desires are a big reason for the raging embryonic
stem cell debate and the question President Bush faces now - should such
research be federally funded?

Tragically, the profound ethical questions at stake are almost dismissed
as proponents of such research doggedly pursue an "ends justifies the
means" strategy. They argue that stem cells, sort of the body's "master
cells," are most if not exclusively useful when they come from embryos -
which are destroyed in the process. They maintain that only these cells
from the earliest stages of human life hold the breathtaking promise of
easily differentiating into other kinds of cells. (The embryos are usually
"left over" from in vitro fertilization, though at least one research
center has, frighteningly, created embryos for the purpose of this

But it turns out such advocates have skipped the fundamental moral
questions only to arrive at science which is shoddy. Because stem cells
from adults, umbilical cords, even fat have been shown to be astoundingly
useful in disease research. Just this week alone the Reuters News Service
reported that adult bone marrow stem cells have been morphed into kidney
cells, potentially providing a real breakthrough for treatment of kidney
disease, and that a German man given a transplant of his own bone marrow
stem cells to repair his heart is doing well.

But this shouldn't surprise anyone. Non-embryonic stem cells have proven
useful for years. Umbilical cord stem cells have restored the immune
systems of children ravaged by cancer. Cadaver brains have yielded stem
cells that can be transformed into different kinds of brain and neuron
cells, offering hope for victims of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.
Stem cells from fat have been changed into muscle, bone and cartilage.

That's led renowned scientists to suggest a cache of possibilities for
non-embryonic stem cells. UCLA's Dr. Marc Hedrick, the lead author of a
study on stem cells from fat, told the Los Angeles Times that the results
are so promising it "makes it hard to argue that we should use embryonic
cells." Dr. Eric Olson, chair of the Department of Molecular Biology at
the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center said that almost
"every other week there's another interesting finding of adult cells
turning into neurons or blood cells or heart muscle cells. . ." Dr. Neil
Theise of the new York University School of Medicine and a co-author of a
recent stem cell study said that "This study provides the strongest
evidence yet that the adult body harbors stem cells that are as flexible
as embryonic stem cells."

The question may really be, do embryonic stem cells provide such a cache
or have they been entirely oversold to a willing public? A major stem cell
study just reported in the journal Science showed that embryonic stem
cells "are surprisingly genetically unstable, at least in mice" as the
Washington Post put it.

And what about humans? The Post went on to reveal that the authors of the
study originally "called for research" to see if genetic instability in
embryonic stem cells might "limit their usefulness in clinical
applications." But this particular bombshell was dropped from the report
only days before it was released. It seems there was fear that just
raising the question could upset the political apple cart.

In any event the superior usefulness of embryonic stem cells, upon which
the entire argument of its proponents rests, appears more and more to be
speculation. So what is the agenda of at least some advocates and
researchers pushing for federal funds for embryonic stem cell research,
particularly those who know all this? Perhaps it's as simple as money.
Maybe it's politics, especially the politics of abortion, or the desire to
render human life in its earliest stages nothing but clinically useful

Or perhaps some of them just think they are "Masters of the Universe" who
can't, or shouldn't, be slowed down by moral or scientific considerations.

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:   Facts Left Out of ESCR Debate
Source:   Jewish World Review; July 31, 2001

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *
Split in Catholic Community on Embryo Stem Cell Research  Doesn't Exist

Washington, DC -- After drawing a sharp rebuke from the Pope for saying he
could support some forms of embryonic stem cell research, ESCR advocates
and some media pundits have shifted their focus to identifying a supposed
"split" within the Catholic Church over the ESCR issue.

However, Catholic leaders in the United States, particularly the U.S.
Conference of Catholic Bishops, have taken strong pro-life stands in
opposition to life-destroying ESCR. Echoing the stance of Pope John Paul
II, the conference has rallied Catholics across the country to contact
legislators urging them to support stem cell research but oppose research
that destroys human life.

Pointing to the supposed "split" some pundits are encouraging President
Bush to permit limited and restricted use of existing embryos for
research. However, such a compromise would certainly draw criticism from
both the Catholic Church and the pro-life community in general.

"The disappointment with a change in position would be especially acute,"
said Richard M. Doerflinger, who represents the pro-life perspective for
the Catholic bishops' conference. Doerflinger noted that Bush announced
his opposition to embryonic stem cell research to the bishops during last
year's campaign.

On the other hand, however, if Bush maintains his campaign promise and
decides to bar federal funding, he would risk losing support among many
Catholic voters. A recent poll said that 61 percent of Catholics support
embryonic stem cell research -- results that conflict greatly with a poll
conducted by the Catholic Conference.

The Catholic Conference poll suggests that Americans oppose federal
funding of stem cell research that requires destroying human embryos, by a
factor of almost three to one (70% to 24%). Asked to choose between
funding all stem cell research (both adult and embryonic), and funding
only adult stem cell research and similar alternatives to see if there is
no need to destroy embryos for research, Americans prefer the latter
approach by an even wider margin (67% to 18%).

Bush's dilemma was evident earlier this month, when it looked as if a
window had opened that would allow Bush to appease research supporters
without alienating pro-life Catholics.

On July 8, the Los Angeles Times reported that three of Bush's top
Catholic advisers -- Deal Hudson, publisher of Crisis Magazine; Robert P.
George, a professor at Princeton University; and the Rev. Robert A.
Sirico, head of the Acton Institute -- were "open to a plan that would
allow the government to fund certain medical experiments that use stem
cells from human embryos."

All three are participants in a weekly White House conference call
designed to maintain lines of communication between the administration and
leading pro-life Catholic intellectuals and activists. Highly respected
among conservatives and liberals in the church, their support of a
compromise on stem cells would make it easier politically for Bush if he
allowed federal funding.

"I can imagine circumstances in which this would not only be politically
acceptable but could be a morally justified policy," George told the
newspaper. "I am open to it," Hudson was quoted as volunteering.

Within hours of the publication of the story, however, the three men
issued a statement declaring they did not support a compromise "that would
include authorization of federal money for research on existing cell
lines." They did say, however, that "it is possible, as an abstract
matter, to imagine circumstances and conditions under which research on
existing cell lines could be acceptable."

The next day, the three men issued another, more adamant, statement in
which all reference to the acceptability of compromise, even in the
abstract, was eliminated. "Our position on stem cell research is clear and
adheres to the fullness of Catholic teaching regarding the sanctity of
human life at every stage of development," it said. "This teaching holds
that the destruction of human embryos for scientific research and medical
treatment is intrinsically evil."

In response via e-mail to questions from The Washington Post, George said
the discussion of compromise was based on the abstract "question of
ethical principles controlling decisions whether to accept benefits
resulting, not from one's own wrongdoing, but from the (past or
continuing) wrongdoing of others."

As a hypothetical example, George wrote: "Imagine that U.S. soldiers are
fighting their way into Nazi death camps and taking heavy casualties in
their efforts to save surviving prisoners. Upon liberating the camp, they
find -- to their horror -- organs taken from people the Nazis had
murdered. . . . As it happens, one or more of the gravely wounded U.S.
soldiers could be saved by using some of these organs for transplants."
While still problematic, George said, use of the organs could be

He and Sirico said the soldiers' dilemma is whether to benefit from an
"evil" already committed by others, while federal funding of embryonic
stem cell research would make taxpayers complicit in the destruction of
the embryos.

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:  Split in Catholic Community on ESCR Doesn't Exist
Source:   Washington Post; July 30, 2001

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *
Reason, Science, & Stem Cells
Why killing embryonic human beings is wrong
By  Patrick Lee  &  Robert P. George

[Pro-Life Infonet Note:  Mr. Lee is associate professor of philosophy at
the Franciscan University of Steubenville. Mr. George is the McCormick
Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University.]

At the heart of the debate over federal funding of embryonic-stem-cell
research is the question whether human embryos are human beings. Perhaps
the most plausible argument that they are not takes the form of a reductio
ad absurdum. Ronald Bailey, science editor of Reason magazine, argues that
the possibility of cloning human beings from ordinary somatic cells, such
as the skin cells millions of which each of us rubs or washes off our
bodies on any given day, means that human embryos are no different in
substance and value from such cells. But nobody maintains that skin cells
are human beings; therefore it is an error, Bailey concludes, to suppose
that embryos are human beings. We need be no more concerned about
destroying embryos than we are about shedding skin cells.

Bailey's article is entitled "Are Stem Cells Babies?" The title itself is
fallacious. No one claims that stem cells are human beings (or "babies").
Rather, human embryos, from whom stem cells are sometimes obtained, are
living, albeit very young, human beings. What has been proposed is the
obtaining of stem cells by dissecting these living human beings. We
object, not to the use of stem cells as such (which can be obtained
elsewhere, without killing), but to the dismemberment of live human beings
as a means to obtain them.

Bailey argues that each of our own cells has as much potential for
development as any human embryo. He notes that cloning has shown that each
of our cells has the genetic information necessary for producing an entire
human embryo, when joined to an enucleated (nucleus removed) ovum and
placed in the right environment. Each cell (Bailey notes) has the entire
DNA code; it has become specialized (as muscle, skin, etc.) by most of
that code being turned off. In cloning, those portions of the code
previously de-activated are re-activated. Bailey quotes Australian
bioethicist Julian Savulescu: "If all our cells could be persons, then we
cannot appeal to the fact that an embryo could be a person to justify the
special treatment we give it."

Bailey's argument fails because his proposed analogy between somatic cells
and human embryos is false. The analogy is false for two reasons. First,
the kind of potentiality possessed by each of our cells differs profoundly
from the potentiality of the human embryo. In the case of somatic cells,
each has a potential only in the sense that something can be done to it so
that its constituents (its DNA molecules) enter into a distinct whole
human organism (which is a person). In the case of the human embryo, he or
she already has the potential to actively develop himself or herself to
the further stages of maturity of the same kind of organism he or she
already is.

True, the whole genetic code is present in each somatic cell, and this
code can be used for guidance of the growth of a new entire organism. But
this point does nothing to show that its potentiality is the same as that
of a human embryo. In cloning, the nucleus of an ovum is removed and a
somatic cell is placed in the remainder of the ovum and given an
electrical stimulus. Such acts do much more than bring out the latent
potentialities of a cell, or merely place a cell in a new environment. The
somatic cell is unable to produce a new embryo by itself, but must work
together with an enucleated ovum; unlike a new embryo, it needs more than
just the right environment to develop to a mature stage of a human being.

A change in environment is merely external. But the result of cloning is
an entirely new organism: There is an internal change in the kind of thing
present. The evidence for this is the entirely new direction of its
activities and reactions. Thus, the relevant potentiality of somatic cells
is merely that their genetic materials can be used, in conjunction with an
enucleated ovum, to generate an embryonic human being. But the
potentiality of the human embryo, like that of the human infant, is
precisely the potentiality to mature as the kind of being it already is --
a human being. Somatic cells, in the context of cloning, are analogous,
not to embryos, but to gametes (sperm and egg). Just as a person who comes
into being as a result of the union of gametes was never a sperm or an
egg, a person who is brought into being by a process of cloning was never
a somatic cell. But you and I truly were once embryos, just as we were
once fetuses, infants, and adolescents. These are merely stages in the
development of the enduring organism -- the human being -- we are.

Bailey may be running into some confusion because the fact that a human
embryo has a complete human genetic code in each of his or her cells is
part of the proof that he or she is a distinct human being. But it is only
part: the other evidence is that its genetic code is distinct from that of
the mother, it is growing and developing by virtue its own direction, the
direction of this growth is the mature stage of a human being, and so on.
In other words, having the entire human genetic code shows that an entity
is human, but other facts show that the human embryo is distinct (distinct
from any cell of its mother or father). And still other facts show that it
is whole (not functionally a part of a larger organism), a
self-integrating member of the human species.

The second reason why Bailey's analogy is false is that it ignores the
most obvious difference between any of our cells and a living human
embryo, a difference that is crucial for discerning how they should be
treated. Each of our cells is a mere part of a larger organism; but the
embryo is himself or herself a complete, though immature, organism.
Somatic cells are not, and embryonic human beings are, distinct,
self-integrating organisms capable of directing their own maturation as
members of the human species.

In fact, Bailey's argument from the possibility of cloning amounts to a
red herring. Cloning shows only that human beings can be produced
asexually, something we already knew with identical twins (the second twin
comes to be with the splitting of the original embryo, which occurs in
about 1 in 270 live births).

Scientists, science writers, philosophers, and others involved in the
debate over embryonic-stem-cell harvesting hold various views of the
ethics of embryo destruction. The facts of science, however, are clear:
Human embryos are not mere clumps of cells, but are living, distinct human
organisms, the same as you and I were at earlier stages of our lives. With
the fusion of sperm and ovum, or with the coming to be of a distinct and
complete (though immature) human organism either by (identical) twinning
or by cloning, there is present a distinct organism which will (unless
prevented) actively develop himself or herself to a more mature stage as a
member of the human species. This new organism directs its own growth,
coordinating from within all of its elements and forces toward his or her
own survival and maturation.

It will not do to say that these are human beings but not "persons." You
and I are essentially human, physical organisms. That is, we do not have
organisms; we are rational, animal organisms. Therefore, we -- that is,
the persons we are -- come to be precisely when the animal-organisms we
are come to be. The human person is a bodily entity -- not a mere
consciousness using a body -- and so the human person comes to be at

Nor will it do to say that the individual that you are did come to be at
conception but that you became valuable, or deserving of respect, only
much later in your duration. You yourself and I myself are intrinsically
valuable, not mere carriers or vehicles for what is intrinsically valuable
(such as pleasant or interesting experiences). For, if we were mere
carriers or vehicles of what is intrinsically valuable, it always would be
permissible to kill one child provided people agreed to replace him or her
with two others. But that is ludicrous. Therefore, persons, at whatever
age or condition, are valuable simply by virtue of being persons, that is,
things that have the basic capacity to shape their own lives, even if it
may take them some time to develop that capacity, or even if some defect
blocks the actualization of that capacity. All persons, of whatever race,
sex, nationality, or age, are deserving of full respect, and none should
be treated as mere means for use -- for example, dissected for their body
parts -- by stronger persons.

Finally, the pro-life position is widely reported (even by some not
hostile to it) as being opposed to stem-cell research because human
embryos "are life." This is inaccurate. They are not just "life," or even
human life, but distinct, individual, living members of the human species,
just as you and I were at an earlier stage of our lives. The proposal to
dissect these individuals for their spare parts -- and to implicate all of
us in this injustice by publicly funding and promoting it -- is
grotesquely immoral.

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:   Why Killing Embryonic Human Beings is Wrong
Source:   National Review; July 20, 2001

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *
Washington - Reasearchers have found serious abnormalities in cloned mice, a finding that strengthens the belief of many scientists that the technique used to clone Dolly the sheep should not be used on humans.  
    The findings are based on the use of embryonic stem cells in cloning and come as the Bush administration considers whether to allow federal funds for the non-cloning stem cell research.  The research appears Friday in the journal Science.  "This study confirms the suspicion of many of us that cloning oh humans would be really dangerous," said Rudolf Jaenisch, senior editor of the study.   (Boston Herald; Friday July 6, 2001)

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Declaration on the production and the scientific
and therapeutic use of human embryonic stem cells

(STEM CELL RESEARCH: With the burgeoning effort to destroy human embryos
through the harvesting of stem cells, it is urgently important to revisit the
fact that a single cell human embryo is a human being, a person who is
deserving of respect. The principles set forth in the following Vatican
document issued by The Pontifical Academy for Life are the same whether one is
discussing human embryonic stem cell research, in vitro fertilization or
contraception. Any process that destroys these people or has the possibility
of destroying these people is illicit.
Judie Brown President American Life League Inc.)

[Excerpts follow. For the entire document, see:]

The first section will very briefly set out the most recent scientific data on
stem cells and the biotechnological data on their production and use. The
second section will draw attention to the more relevant ethical problems
raised by these new discoveries and their applications.

Although some aspects need to be studied more thoroughly, a commonly accepted
definition of "stem cell" describes it as a cell with two characteristics:

1. The property of an unlimited self-maintenance - that is, the ability to
reproduce itself over a long period of time without becoming differentiated;

2. The capability to produce non-permanent progenitor cells, with limited
capacity for proliferation, from which derive a variety of lineages of highly
differentiated cells (neural cells, muscle cells, blood cells, etc.).

For about thirty years stem cells have provided a vast field of research in
adult tissue, in embryonic tissue and in in vitro cultures of embryonic stem
cells of experimental animals. But public attention has recently increased
with a new milestone that has been reached: the production of human embryonic
stem cells...

There were high hopes that the application of this knowledge would lead to new
and safer ways of treating serious diseases, something which had been sought
for years. But the impact was greatest in the political world. In the United
States in particular, in response to the long-standing opposition of Congress
to the use of federal funds for research in which human embryos were
destroyed, there came strong pressure from the National Institutes of Health
(NIH), among others, to obtain funds for at least using stem cells produced by
private groups; there came also recommendations from the National Bioethics
Advisory Committee (NBAC), established by the Federal Government to study the
problem, that public money should be given not only for research on embryonic
stem cells but also for producing them. Indeed, persistent efforts are being
made to rescind definitively the present legal ban on the use of federal funds
for research on human embryos.

Similar pressures are being brought to bear also in England, Japan and

The first ethical problem, which is fundamental, can be formulated thus: Is it
morally licit to produce and/or use living human embryos for the preparation
of ES cells? The answer is negative, for the following reasons:

1. On the basis of a complete biological analysis, the living human embryo
is - from the moment of the union of the gametes - a human subject with a well
defined identity, which from that point begins its own coordinated, continuous
and gradual development, such that at no later stage can it be considered as a
simple mass of cells.

2. From this it follows that as a "human individual" it has the right to its
own life; and therefore every intervention which is not in favour of the
embryo is an act which violates that right. Moral theology has always taught
that in the case of "jus certum tertii" the system of probabilism does not

3. Therefore, the ablation of the inner cell mass (ICM) of the blastocyst,
which critically and irremediably damages the human embryo, curtailing its
development, is a gravely immoral act and consequently is gravely illicit.

4. No end believed to be good, such as the use of stem cells for the
preparation of other differentiated cells to be used in what look to be
promising therapeutic procedures, can justify an intervention of this kind. A
good end does not make right an action which in itself is wrong...

The second ethical problem can be formulated thus: Is it morally licit to
engage in so-called "therapeutic cloning" by producing cloned human embryos
and then destroying them in order to produce ES cells?

The answer is negative, for the following reason: Every type of therapeutic
cloning, which implies producing human embryos and then destroying them in
order to obtain stem cells, is illicit; for there is present the ethical
problem examined above, which can only be answered in the negative.

The third ethical problem can be formulated thus: Is it morally licit to use
ES cells, and the differentiated cells obtained from them, which are supplied
by other researchers or are commercially obtainable?

The answer is negative, since: prescinding from the participation - formal or
otherwise - in the morally illicit intention of the principal agent, the case
in question entails a proximate material cooperation in the production and
manipulation of human embryos on the part of those producing or supplying

In conclusion, it is not hard to see the seriousness and gravity of the
ethical problem posed by the desire to extend to the field of human research
the production and/or use of human embryos, even from a humanitarian
Judie Brown, October 13, 2000 Vol. 10, #39

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *
Familes of Adopted Embryos Put Human Face on Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Washington, DC -- The families of three children born from frozen embryos
said Monday that President Bush should see the toddlers before he makes a
decision on stem cell research.

As President Bush wrangles with a decision about whether taxpayers must
fund life-destroying embryonic stem cell research, two-year-old Hannah
Strege and her parents traveled from their home in California to
Washington, D.C. this week to show President Bush and Congress that
embryos "left over" from in-vitro fertilization can become children
instead of research subjects.

"I was listening to C-SPAN [where] Sen. [Tom] Harkin (D-IA) said that my
daughter was nothing more than a dot on a piece of paper," said Hannah's
mother, Marlene Strege, a 42-year-old occupational therapist, who spoke at
a Capital Hill press conference on Monday.

The Streges adopted Hannah as an embryo in 1997 after fertility treatments
failed to produce a pregnancy for Marlene.

"I cried," said Strege, recalling her reaction to Harkin's words. "My
husband came home and I said, 'Well, our little dot just put Winnie the
Pooh in the toilet today.'"

Strege is slated to testify at a congressional hearing Tuesday to explore
the ethical and legal issues surrounding the federal funding of embryonic
stem cell research.

Lucinda and John Borden also think they could sway the president with Luke
and Mark, a pair of lively 9 1/2 month olds. (For a picture, email the
Pro-Life Infonet at

The parents argue that if Bush approves federal money for the research,
more of the tiny unborn children will be destroyed for science instead of
adopted by infertile couples.

``We want him to look into our children's eyes,'' said Lucinda Borden, who
received the children through a Christian adoption agency based in
Fullerton, Calif. The boys were born after the embryos were implanted in
Lucinda, 36, of Fontana, Calif.

``Hannah, Luke and Mark give the debate over stem cell research three
beautiful faces,'' said Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), a noted pro-life lawmaker
who'd rather see federal money spent on adult stem cell research. "Adult
stem cells are a legitimate alternative to research that destroys human
embryos, [but] the only way to justify embryo-destructive work is to
assert that Hannah" added Smith.

The three children were adopted through the Snowflakes Embryo Adoption

Smith wants to create a $30 million annual fund that would support
research on stem cells extracted from youth and adult tissue, fat cells
and other alternatives to human embryos.

Though Congress in 1996 passed a law banning federal funding of such
research, the Clinton Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
interpreted the ban to mean that federal funding was allowable so long as
embryos were obtained using private funds.

After undertaking a review of the Clinton rule, President Bush is now
dealing with the thorny ethical question of how his administration will
balance the interests of embryonic research foes on one side and groups
representing researchers and people with chronic and terminal diseases on
the other.

But even Bush's decision, politically risky either way he turns, is
unlikely to end the matter. The Christian Legal Society has a pending
lawsuit challenging the policy. Also, legislators in Congress who favor
embryonic stem cell research funding say they will draft legislation to
allow it.

Moreover, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), who has upset pro-life advocates with
his support for embryonic stem cell research, has said that he thinks the
Senate could muster the necessary 60 votes to overturn a presidential veto
of legislation to allow stem cell funding.

Even though embryonic stem cell research supporters say such research is
needed to cure numerous diseases, Ken Connor, president of the Family
Research Council, believes that medical need is not a justification for
making taxpayers fund research that destroys human embryos.

"There's a statement lawyers learn in law school that says ...'hard cases
make bad law,'" said Connor. "There's no question about the fact that
there are many difficult [and] sad cases which cry out for relief [and]

He added, "But I would defy Senators [Arlen] Specter (R-Pa.) and Hatch to
take these three children [produced through embryo adoption] in their arms
and tell us which ones of these children should have been sacrificed on
the altar of scientific experimentation in pursuit of what is at best an
elusive goal."

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:   Familes of Adopted Embryos Put Human Face on Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Source:   Cybercast News Service, Associated Press; July 16, 2001

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *
Embryo Stem Cell Research  Advocates Are Short on Facts
By Michael Fumento

[Pro-Life Infonet Note:  Michael Fumento is a senior fellow at the Hudson
Institute, where he's completing a book tentatively entitled: BioEvolution:
How Biotechnology Is Changing Our World.]

The embryonic full-court press is on, fielding an all-star team.

Injured and sick celebrities like Christopher Reeve, journalists such as
Morton Kondracke (whose wife Milly has late-stage Parkinson's disease),
and prominent politicians like Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, Tennessee Sen. Bill
Frist, and former Florida Sen. Connie Mack are all demanding that the ban
on federal funding of embryonic-stem-cell research be lifted.

Anybody with the least conservative credentials who favors lifting the ban
gets splashed onto Page One. Most recently this includes Nancy Reagan, as
if being a conservative president's wife makes someone an authority in
issues deeply involving ethics and biology. What makes them authorities,
of course, is that they favor lifting the ban.

To see just how bad the distortions have become in this new push, look no
further than Newsweek's July 9 issue, which presents the entire argument
on the cover. "The Stem Cell Wars," declare the boldest words. "Embryo
Research vs. Pro-Life Politics: There's Hope for Alzheimer's, Heart
Disease, Parkinson's and Diabetes. But Will Bush Cut Off the Money?"

Yet, (A) the money has been cut off since 1996, well before Bush became
president; (B) when the media aren't portraying all those who support
keeping the ban as fanatical pro-lifers, they're filling their pages with
testimonials from abortion opponents calling for an end to the ban; and
(C) even without federal funds, nay even without embryonic cells,
stem-cell research has made tremendous strides toward bringing hope to
persons with the very diseases Newsweek's cover lists, along with many

Focus in on the third anomaly. Why aren't we hearing about this?

Simple: It's scientific ignorance, with a dollop of disinformation tossed
in for good measure. Advances in tissue-regeneration research are coming
fast and furious because of something either ignored or pooh-poohed by
embryonic-cell advocates -- non-embryonic stem cells.

Scientists are finding such stem cells in tissues throughout the body,
then converting them into an incredible array of mature cells with the
ability to combat a vast number of devastating diseases and injuries.

Yet across the board, proponents of lifting the embryonic-cell research
ban either are ignorant or pretend to be ignorant of the tremendous
advances in non-embryonic stem cell research. Often they fail even to
recognize that there are stem cells that are not embryonic. (Some of these
are properly called "adult stem cells," whereas others such as those from
umbilical cords resist the "adult" nomenclature. Regardless, the only
valid distinction regarding the current debate is between embryonic and

Thus the title of Connie Mack's June 19 Wall Street Journal op-ed: "I'm
Pro-Life -- And in Favor of Stem Cell Research" is only the contradiction
it aims to be if you ignore non-embryonic stem cells.

Yet even as his commentary appeared, the New Scientist was reporting that
researchers have removed stem cells from adult human hair follicles and
converted them into skin grafts for victims of severe burns and ulcerated

In other developments over the past two years:

*Two studies published last December in Nature Medicine reported that
non-embryonic stem cells injected into rodents can transform themselves
naturally into neurons and insert themselves into the brain, giving hope
to persons with Parkinson's and other disorders. A third study found that
injecting a chemical into damaged areas of rats' brains stimulated stem
cells to grow and differentiate into a massive number of normal, fully
developed nerves. The cells repaired damage and restored mobility to the
rodents. Ironically, it was funded in part by the Christopher Reeve
Paralysis Foundation which supports lifting the embryonic-stem-cell ban.

At least four rodent studies (some published and some not) and one pig
study have shown that non-embryonic stem cells can be used to repair heart
tissue in animals whose hearts had been intentionally damaged.

As reported in Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, rats with degraded
retinas were injected with non-embryonic stem cells that traveled to the
site of damage. There they showed signs of making connections with the
optic nerve, which would be expected to improve or even restore vision.

Johns Hopkins School of Medicine researchers injected non-embryonic stem
cells into the spinal fluid of paralyzed mice and rats, half of which
partially or fully recovered. This paves the way for human trials for
those afflicted with ALS and muscular dystrophy.

Cells from liposuctioned fat (our nation's most plentiful resource) have
been transformed into bone, muscle, cartilage, and mature fat cells,
according to an article in the April issue of Tissue Engineering.

Sen. Mack's commentary did allude to this study, but only to assert that
"there is no conclusive proof that fat tissue really does contain stem
cells." Wrong. "These are adipose-derived stem cells," the lead author of
the study, UCLA assistant professor of plastic surgery Dr. Marc Hedrick,
told me. In any case, even Sen. Mack unwittingly admitted that cells of
some type of cell has been removed from adult tissue and converted into
the same types of tissue that embryonic cells have been made into. For our
purposes, who cares if they turn out to be stem cells or not?

Time and again, scientists involved in non-embryonic-stem-cell work,
including even some who say they support lifting the funding ban, have
commented that one of the important results of their and other's findings
is that they would bypass the emotion-charged embryonic-tissue debate.

Among them:

UCLA's Hedrick told the Los Angeles Times his findings "could take the air
right out of the debate about embryonic stem cells." The fat cells'
surprising usefulness, he said, "makes it hard to argue that we should use
embryonic cells."

Dr. Adam J. Katz, a member of a research team separate from Hedrick's that
span fat into body tissues: "This discovery potentially could obviate the
need for using fetal tissue."

Eric Olson, chair of the Department of Molecular Biology at the University
of Texas Southwestern Medical Center: Almost "every other week there's
another interesting finding of adult cells turning into neurons or blood
cells or heart muscle cells. Apparently our traditional views need to be

Ira Black of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, referring to his
research showing that various adult cells could be teased into becoming
neuronal ones: This "essentially circumvents all the ethical concerns with
the use of fetal tissues."

Markus C. Grompe, a professor of molecular medical genetics at Oregon
Health Sciences University: "This would suggest that maybe you don't need
any type of fetal stem cell at all -- that our adult bodies continue to
have stem cells that can do this stuff."

Dr. Neil Theise of the New York University School of Medicine and
co-author of a stem-cell study declared, "This study provides the
strongest evidence yet that the adult body harbors stem cells that are as
flexible as embryonic stem cells."

While it's true that 80-odd Nobel laureates have signed a letter
supporting lifting the ban, claiming it's "far too early to know whether
adult stem cells are as promising as the cells from fertilized eggs," Dr.
Donald Orlic of the National Genome Research Institute told NBC News in
late March that "we are currently finding that these adult stem cells can
function as well, perhaps even better than, embryonic stem cells." It's
also noteworthy that of those Nobel laureates, only 27 had science
backgrounds and only two had backgrounds in embryology.

Yet the disinformation piles on like a collapsing slag heap, to where it's
utterly conflicting.

Thus William Safire, in his July 5 column stating, "I head a foundation
that supports research in brain science, neuro-immunology and
immuno-imaging," also says, "scientists may find, in time, that stem cells
can be developed from adult cells rather than blastocysts [embryonic

It seems the foundation needs a new head, one with a bit of a science

You don't "develop" an adult stem cell. Like blastocysts, they're always
there. The only scientific discussion is whether such cells are as readily
harvested and converted into other types of cells as are embryonic ones.

And if it's harvesting you're talking about, nothing will ever compete
with the non-embyronic stem cells removed from umbilical cords and
placentas from babies born alive.

Companies like Viacell, Inc. of Boston have been extracting stem cells
from human umbilical cords for years now. Recently New Jersey-based
Anthrogenesis Corp. announced it had been able to collect 10 times as many
stem cells from a single post-birth placenta as have been gathered from
any other single source.

"These are the same type of cells used in fetal development, and we
capture what's left in placenta and umbilical cords," Cynthia Fischer,
founder and president of Viacell, Inc. and its subsidiary, Viacord, Inc.,
told me.

Each year, over four million umbilical cords are simply discarded.
Connected together, they would stretch from New York to Houston.

But such information seems to be more closely guarded than Britain's Crown

Consider the stem-cell report the National Institutes of Health just

NIH has long pushed for embryonic research funding, so it would be rather
strange if it didn't take this opportunity to do so as well.

Yet even the report admits: "Published scientific papers indicated that
adult stem cells have been identified in brain, bone marrow, peripheral
blood, blood vessels, skeletal muscle, epithelia of the skin and digestive
system, cornea, dental pulp of the tooth, retina, liver, and pancreas."

Essentially, the places where stem cells have not been found are those
where scientists haven't looked.

So instead the report falls back on a mass of mush words like "it may be,"
and "it appears," along with such worthless assertions that: "It has not
been demonstrated that one adult stem cell can be directed to develop into
any cell type of the body." That's absolutely true. It's also absolutely
true of embryonic cells, but don't expect to read that in the report.

And yet.

Even were it to turn out that embryonic cells have no advantage over
non-embryonic ones, shouldn't pragmatism dictate that such research be
given an equal chance? (The word "equal" is important, because private
labs continue to legally conduct embryonic-cell research.)

After all, wouldn't virtually any pro-lifer admit that the possibility of
killing innocent children shouldn't preclude an air strike against enemy

Yet perhaps the strongest argument against lifting the funding ban is

Much of the current fear over therapeutic human biotechnology comes from
angst over embryonic-stem-cell research, and it's not just coming from
abortion foes.

People are scared. Rightly or wrongly, use of embryonic cells invokes
visions of Dr. Josef Mengele and a terrifying slippery slope towards
playing around with human life.

It would be tragic if the fantastic results of non-embryonic stem-cell
research were to be lost in a needless campaign to fund the embryonic
variety with the unwilling subsidies of Americans whose objections are
rooted in deeply held convictions.

We must ensure full public support for stem-cell research and all the
promise it holds. That can't be done unless we maintain the
taxpayer-funding ban.

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:   ESCR Advocates Are Short on Facts
Source:   National Review; July 23, 2001

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *
Alan Keyes Urges Opposition to Embryo Stem Cell Research

Washington, DC -- "Our leaders, we are told, are 'agonizing' and
'wrestling with their conscience' on this issue, because of the difficulty
of balancing the alleviation of human suffering through medical advances
against the moral cost of 'harvesting' embryos. We should be clear that
the 'dilemma' presented by the 'opportunity' to begin a morally illicit
exploitation of a class of innocent human beings is essentially no
different than the decision to introduce the commercial slave trade into
the New World," said Ambassador Alan Keyes, Chairman of the Declaration

"Laboratory techniques such as cloning and embryonic manipulation are now
confronting us with a temptation no different to that of slavery - that we
may disregard the dignity of some human beings for utilitarian 'benefit.'
This arbitrary discrimination is proposed to rest upon how these tiny
human beings are conceived. We are being asked to presumptively disrespect
the humanity of those who are conceived in a petri dish, so that society
may put them to use for its own purposes.

"Once we have adopted the position that anonymous embryos can be denied
equal respect because of the circumstance of their origin, the principle
at the root of the decision will be inexorably advanced. The seeds that we
plant in our thinking today will decide whether or not, in the course of
this century, we shall see whole new classes of human beings brought into
existence by our cleverness but condemned to indignity, injustice,
exploitation and slavery," said Keyes.

"I hope all Americans will take to heart the words which Pope John Paul II
spoke to the President on Monday," said Dr. Richard Ferrier, President of
Declaration Foundation. "'A free and virtuous society, which America
aspires to be, must reject practices that devalue and violate human life
at any stage from conception until natural death.'" "Clearly," Ferrier
added, "growing and harvesting human bodies for use by other, more
powerful humans is a gross devaluation of human life, and will degrade our
national conscience. It violates our national creed, the Declaration."

"The Declaration of Independence not only proclaims our rights, it implies
a necessary discipline in our use of those rights. Our rights depend upon
submitting our human will to the authority of a transcendent and
benevolent Power that wisely dictates that we respect the life and dignity
of every human being, regardless of station, of strength, of condition or
of the circumstances of birth. This is the American choice - and the right
choice," said Keyes.

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:   Alan Keyes Urges Opposition to ESCR
Source:   Declaration Foundation; July 25, 2001

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *
Richard Doerflinger on Virginia Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Washington, DC -- An official of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
reacted today to reports that the Jones Institute for Reproductive
Medicine in Norfolk, Virginia has created over a hundred embryos from
donated sperm and eggs solely to obtain stem cells for research.  Richard
M. Doerflinger, Associate Director for Policy Development at the USCCB's
Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities, said this development shows the need
for the Bush Administration to "step back from the brink" of funding any
research involving human embryo destruction.  His text follows:

"It is disturbing news that researchers at the Jones Institute for
Reproductive Medicine have created more than a hundred human embryos
solely to kill them for their stem cells.

"Those who have become accustomed to destroying 'spare' embryos for
research now think nothing of taking the next horrible step - creating
human life for the purpose of destroying it.  This grotesque practice is
now supported only by private funds.  If the government begins funding
destructive embryo research, the same numbing of consciences will surely
happen on a wider scale.

"The Jones Institute is affiliated with an organization belonging to the
Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research, and published its
results in that organization's journal.  Yet that Coalition now claims
that the only way to set ethical limits and stop the Jones Institute's
abuses is to provide tax dollars for research using 'spare' embryos.  In
effect the Coalition is saying: We won't stop ourselves from creating
embryos for destruction unless the government pays us to destroy other

"The fact is, federal funding for destructive embryo research is barred
now. Releasing such funds for some unethical research is no way to prevent
even more unethical research

"Once we learn to destroy human life for research, there are no depths to
which we may not sink in the pursuit of knowledge.  The Bush
Administration should step back from the brink, and support adult stem
cell research and other alternatives that everybody can live with."

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <
Subject:  Richard Doerflinger on Virginia Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Source:   U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; July 11, 2001

Richard Doerflinger Discusses Stem Cell Research

[Pro-Life Infonet Note:  The following is a transcript of an interview on
CNN's "Inside Politics"with Richard Doerflinger, a leading pro-life voice
on embryonic stem cell research. Doerflingers represents the pro-life
outreach of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. CNN's Judy Woodruff
conducted the interview.]

WOODRUFF: I also talked today with an opponent of stem cell research,
Richard Doerflinger, of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. I asked
him if it is his understanding that President Bush is looking for a
compromise, a way to permit some stem cell research.


DOERFLINGER: I think some staff in the administration are looking for such
a compromise. I don't think it's going to work for one reason -- one
reason for that is that the idea of just using existing cell lines, the
ones where the embryos have already been destroyed for their stem cells
under the NIH guidelines are simply not going to be enough to meet what
the researchers feel is their demand. They're finding out more and more
that these cultures are not indefinitely prolonged. They don't survive
indefinitely the way they once thought. They're going to need a great many
more of these embryos and these cell lines in order to do their research.
So I don't think it works even on practical grounds. And I think it would
be a bad move in terms of policy because it would give up the principle
and then try to limit it in what I think would be unconvincing way.

WOODRUFF: You mean, to try to find a compromise such as what you

DOERFLINGER: Well, I think it's more of a transitional step than a
compromise. It's to say, "We're going to implement the Clinton plan but
we're only going to implement it for a little while and then we're going
to suddenly stop even though that would actually prevent the research from
actually getting anywhere. It's going to be years before this embryonic
stem cell research were to provide any benefit to humans if it ever were
to provide such benefits.

WOODRUFF: Even if it's years away, Mr. Doerflinger, what do you say to the
tens of hundreds of thousands of people in this country who are suffering
from Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, juvenile diabetes, whatever it is, spinal
cord injuries or who will be suffering, who are looking if not for a cure,
for something to alleviate their suffering?

DOERFLINGER: I think there are great many treatments we can point to. The
most promising treatment for diabetes right now, for juvenile diabetes,
for example, is not embryonic stem cells. They've had mouse embryonic stem
cells for 20 years and they still haven't figured out how to use them to
cure mice of diabetes. What's happening in human patients today, right
now, there are the 15 patients who are treated with adult pancreatic islet
cell transplants have been greatly helped by these adult cells. Nine of
the 15 patients remain insulin-free to this day up to two years later
after the transplants, and people are now beginning to do more and more
trials on this in the United States. There's use of islet cells from pigs
even that can be modified a certain way that are curing this in animals.
They talk about human trials in a year or two. The breaking treatments and
cures for these diseases are not coming from embryonic stem cell. I think
there's been an enormous amount of hype and some very unrealistic
expectations built up about them.

WOODRUFF: Well, I know we're not going to resolve that now, but you are
correct. There's been a great deal written and reported about the fact
that most of the advances are expected to come from the embryonic stem
cells, but I understand you have a different view here.

What about Senator Gordon Smith's comment that when it comes time to
deciding where life begins, in his view, it's in the womb of the mother,
and not as he put it, in a refrigerator, in a petri dish with two cells?

DOERFLINGER: Well, we're talking about embryos that are a week old and are
about 200 cells. But setting that aside, life doesn't ever begin in the
womb. It begins -- fertilization takes place in the fallopian tube
ordinarily. It's been taking place in petri dishes in IVF clinics for a
long time now. A lot of kids have been born that way. And until now,
nobody's told me that they weren't just fully as human as everybody else.

I think this is a make weight argument to justify a position that people
are taking for other reasons. Even our worst opponents, if you will,
President Clinton own bioethics advisory commission, all of them had fully
admitted that this is a form of human life in the laboratory. They just
think that there are times when you can destroy human life for research,
and I don't think you can.

WOODRUFF: And finally, Mr. Doerflinger, what about the comment by Senator
Smith that, in his view of Catholics, a group you represent, many more of
them agree with his position than with yours?

DOERFLINGER: Well, I don't think that's true. I think there are some polls
that have been taken where Catholics and others were asked: Do you support
stem cell research? I would say yes to that question. So the fact they got
70 percent is meaningless. When you ask people whether they support
research that requires destroying human embryos for their stem cells, you
get 70 percent against, not just Catholics but everyone else. And if you
ask further about what we should do now when we don't really agree yet
which of these approaches to research might be the most useful, a vast
majority of people say, "Let's fund those morally acceptable alternatives,
the adult stem cell research and other alternatives first, to see if we
don't even need to go the way of killing embryos for their stem cells." I
think that's going to be a widely supported position.

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:   Richard Doerflinger Discusses Stem Cell Research
Source:   CNN's "Inside Politics"; July 11, 2001

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *
Leading political and religious figures in Germany have condemned the vote in
the British House of Commons last Tuesday to authorise destructive research on
cloned human embryos. Edelgard Bulmahn, the country's science minister,
commented: "We are united with all other European Union countries that the
cloning of embryos steps over ethical and moral boundaries." Gerhard
Schroeder, the German chancellor, said that embryonic stem cell research
should remain banned while the potential of adult stem cells was explored.
Manfred Koch, head of Germany's Lutheran church, said that the British move
would complete "the breach of an ethical dam feared by many Christians and
other critics of biotechnology in Europe". [Ananova, 20 December]

Hubert Hueppe, vice-president of the German
parliament's bioethics commission, described so-called therapeutic cloning
as "far worse" than reproductive cloning because "humans would be created
with the sole purpose of being killed." Many scientists, politicians and
church leaders, both Catholic and protestant, have spoken out against
embryo research in Germany. Joerg-Dietrich Hoppe, head of country's
association of medical doctors, suggested that his British counterparts
were putting profit before morality. [National Post online, 23 August]

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *
Embryo-Destructive Stem Cell Research

   Since 1995, a provision of the annual Health and Human Services (HHS)
appropriations bill called the "Dickey Amendment" has prohibited federal
funding of any "research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed,
discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death . . ."
   However, some researchers wish to obtain federal funds for research in
which human embryos, created in infertility laboratories by the process of
in vitro fertilization, would be killed to harvest their stem cells.
Stem cells are cells that have the capacity to turn into various types of
specialized tissue, such as nerve or muscle tissue, which may be useful in
treating many diseases.
   Therefore, sometime this summer when the House of Representatives
considers the HHS appropriations bill for fiscal year 2002, anti-life
forces will probably seek to prevent renewal of the Dickey Amendment.  A
close vote is expected in the House on this question.
   In addition, Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) and Congressman Jim
McDermott (D-Wa.) have introduced anti-life legislation (S. 723, H.R.
2059) that would actually require federal funding of embryo-destructive
stem cell research.
   Thus, it is important for lawmakers to hear from constituents who
support extension of the current ban on federal funding of
embryo-destructive research.  In a national poll conducted in early June
by International Communications Research, the public opposed federal
funding of stem cell research in which "live embryos would be destroyed in
their first week of development," by a margin of 70% to 24%.
   Fortunately, stem cells for medical research may be obtained without
killing human embryos.  Researchers have obtained stem cells from adult
fat, blood, and bone marrow, and also from umbilical cords and placentas.
In the early June poll, the public supported the funding of these ethical
alternatives to embryo-killing research, 67% to 18%.  On June 7,
Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) introduced The Responsible Stem Cell
Research Act (H.R. 2096), to authorize expanded federal funding of
research using stem cells from these sources.
(National Right to Life)

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

    Fr. Anthony Zimmerman Nov. 30, 1999

            The Magisterium of the Catholic Church teaches with unmistakable clarity that
from the moment a human zygote has formed we owe it the unconditional
respect that is morally due to that human being. The new Catechism declares
that a human body is human precisely because it is animated by a spiritual soul
(364). In other words, a human body does not begin without a human soul.

Unconcerned with decent respect for human life, in vitro fertilization, with its
karma of selecting, destroying, and discarding human embryos, is now an
established business. Experimentation with human embryos and embryonic
stem cells follows in its wake. Ironically for the Church, several notorious
dissenting priests attempt to justify such action by alleging that humans are not
yet people for some weeks after fertilization. Another rationalization was given
by a doctor who said to me: "Sure, it's a human being, but we don't have to give
him or her a visa."

Canon 1398 rules that those who do abortions march themselves out of the
door of the Catholic Church. It reads: "A person who actually procures an
abortion occurs a latae sententiae excommunication."

The thrust of this writing is that the Church should now extend Canon 1398 to
traffickers in human zygotes and embryos.


The CDF, with the Pope's approval, declared in 1987 that a new human life
begins at fertilization:

    This congregation is aware of the current debates concerning the
    beginning of human life, concerning the individuality of the human
    being and concerning the identity of the human person. The
    congregation recalls the teachings found in the Declaration on
    Procured Abortion:

         "From the time that the ovum is fertilized, a new life is begun
         which is neither that of the father nor of the mother; it is rather
         the life of a new human being with his own growth. It would
         never be made human if it were not human already. To this
         perpetual evidence ... modern genetic science brings valuable
         confirmation. It has demonstrated that, from the first instant,
         the program is fixed as to what this living being will be: a man,
         this individual man with his characteristic aspects already well
         determined. Right from fertilization is begun the adventure of
         a human life, and each of its great capacities requires time
         find its place and to be in a position to act" (Declaration on
         procured Abortion, 1974).

Note the wording that a new human life begins at fertilization. The next
sentence states that a human zygote is a human individual: "In the zygote (the
cell produced when the nuclei of the two gametes have fused), resulting from
fertilization, the biological identity of a new human individual is already

Nevertheless the Magisterium chose, in 1987, to not commit itself to a
philosophical affirmation:

    Certainly no experimental datum can be in itself sufficient to bring us
    to the recognition of a spiritual soul; nevertheless, the conclusions of
    science regarding the human embryo provide a valuable indication for
    discerning by the use of reason a personal presence at the moment of
    this first appearance of a human life: How could a human individual
    not be a human person? The magisterium has not expressly committed
    itself to an affirmation of a philosophical nature, but it constantly
    reaffirms the moral condemnation of any kind of procured abortion.
    This teaching has not been changed and is unchangeable.

Five years later, however, the Catechism of the Catholic Church states
forthrightly that a human body is such precisely because a spiritual soul
animates it:

    The human body shares in the dignity of "the image of God": it is a
    human body precisely because it is animated by a spiritual soul, and it
    is the whole human person that is intended to become, in the body of
    Christ, a temple of the Spirit (364; emphasis added).

The Latin of the emphasized part reads: illud est corpus humanum praecise
quia anima spirituali animatur. Note the logic of the statement: If the body is
human, then it has a soul. In other words, there is no zygote or embryo which is
human that is not animated by a spiritual soul. If there is a spiritual soul, then
this zygote is a person. If this is a person then God has created that person's
soul. Anyone who now dares to teach that the human zygote is not yet a human
person contradicts the Catechism and trifles with a person created by God.

It should not be difficult to accept that human life begins as a single cell zygote.
You were once a zygote, I was once a zygote, the Pope was once a zygote. Had
someone killed those zygotes, neither you nor I nor the Pope would be alive
today. The fact that the Church baptizes infants, following the Tradition of the
Apostles, indicates that she believes them to be persons. She affirms with
reason and common sense what the microscope cannot ascertain.

The Congregation insists that we have a moral obligation to respect the zygote
as a person:

    Thus the fruit of human generation from the first moment of its
    existence, that is to say, from the moment the zygote has formed,
    demands the unconditional respect that is morally due to the human
    being in his bodily and spiritual totality... Since the embryo must be
    treated as a person, it must also be defended in its integrity...

Let us hope that the Church will speak with more power by excommunicating
intractable offenders.

                            DATA ON FERTILIZATION

Both gametes have undergone specific preparation to be ready for fertilization.
As in the somatic (body) cells, each immature sex cell contains 46
chromosomes - the number that is specific for an individual of the human
species. Before being able to take part in fertilization, both immature sex cells
must cut the number of chromosomes in each cell in half (23). This is
accomplished by the process of meiosis. In the female, at about the fifth month
of fetal growth, the oogonia begin the first phase of meiosis but do not
complete it. "They remain in meiotic arrest as primary oocytes until sexual
maturity" (William J. Larsen, Human Embryology, New York: Churchill
Livingstone, 1997, p. 4).

The first  phase of meiosis is completed when the oocytes mature after puberty,
in preparation for ovulation. Then "This oocyte enters a second phase of
meiotic arrest and does not actually complete meiosis unless it is fertilized"
(Larsen, ibid.). The oocyte is fragile now in a suspended condition at
metaphase. If not rescued by a spermatozoon "which triggers the oocyte to
complete its meiosis) within 24 hours after ovulation, it will perish, having lost
its chance forever. The spermatozoon, on the contrary, has completed its
twofold meiosis prior to leaving the man's body. It is ready for fertilization,
since by means of meiosis it has already cut the number of chromosomes in

When a spermatozoon docks with an oocyte at fertilization, the oocyte goes
into immediate action. It prevents entrance of other spermatozoa by producing
a chemical change in its zona pellucida. The oocyte also finally completes its
second phase of meiosis. When the spermatozoon has completed penetration
into the cytoplasm of the oocyte, the walls of the nuclei open and the DNA
interacts. This is now a zygote. Then the first cell division occurs. One of the
two then divides again and there are temporarily three. The second divides
eventually and there are four. Life is on its way through programmed

Just when does "fertilization" occur, at first contact, at docking, at penetration,
or at the initial interaction of DNA? I lean toward the position that it occurs at
the instant of successful biological "docking" or interlocking of a spermatozoon
with a secondary oocyte. From that point of time the two gametes are joined
and begin to operate biologically as one single unit. When space ships dock,
bolts snap into place to keep them together. When nature docks a
spermatozoon and an oocyte, God creates a new person.

At any rate, fertilization has definitely occurred when the single cell zygote
exists. It grows as a human being, has speciafically human proteins and
enzymes, and it follows the genetic program for building a human body.
Because it is a human body, it is enlivened by a human soul, is created by God,
and is off limits to human manipulation by God's command: "Thou shalt not

                     LIFE DEVELOPS AS A CONTINUUM

Space ships accelerate in a power flight until they achieve orbit. Humans lift
themselves into life by one continued process of growth, from zygote, to birth,
to maturity. Geneticist Jerome Lejeune described how the human DNA builds
the life of this body:

    Nature, to carry the information from father to children, from mother
    to child-ren, from generation to generation, has used the smallest
    possible language. And it is very necessary because life is taking
    advantage of the movement of particles, of molecules, to put order
    inside the chance development of random movement of particles, so
    that the chance is now transformed according to the necessity of the
    new being.

    All the information being written, it has to be written in the smallest
    language possible so that it can dictate how to manipulate particle by
    particle, atom by atom, molecule by molecule. We have to be with life
    at the real cross between matter, energy and information (Testimony,
    August 10, 1989, before the Circuit Court for Blount County,
    Tennessee, printed by Michael I Woodruff, Director, Center for Law
    and Religious Freedom, Annandale, Virginia, p.39).

The DNA is blue print, boss, and construction team simultaneously. It
biologizes particles, atoms and molecules into living tissues and functioning
organs, and integrates growth as one coordinated process. The construction
blocks - particles, atoms, molecules - manipulated into place by life, are
identical. These blocks could even be interchanged between human bodies and
animal bodies without altering anything whatsoever. They are like bricks in a
wall laid in place by a bricklayer. Dr. Lejeune illustrates how life differs from
building blocks:

    A chromosome is very comparable to a mini-cassette, in which a
    symphony is written, the symphony of life. Now, exactly as if you buy
    a cartridge on which Eine Kleine Nachtmusik from Mozart has been
    registered, if you play it in a normal recorder, the musician would not
    be reproduced, the notes of music will not be reproduced; they are not
    there; what would be reproduced is the movement of air which
    transmits to you the genius of Mozart. It's exactly the same way that
    life is played. On the tiny mini-cassettes which are chromosomes are
    written various parts of the opus which is for a human symphony; and
    as soon as all the information necessary and sufficient to spell out the
    information necessary and sufficient to spell out the whole symphony
    (is there), this symphony plays itself; that is, a new man is beginning
    his career (op. cit., p.41)

                             CELL DIFFERENTIATION

The tiny change on the DNA, continued Dr. Lejeune, changes the surface of
the big groove of the helix of DNA; inside of this big groove some proteins will
hook on different segments specific of the DNA. This is a kind of language of
instructions. It tells the chromosome: "Speak here; give this information here;
but be silent there; don't pass on that information." There is simply too much
information in ourselves to allow them all to speak at once, telling all they
know. Some genes must remain silent while others speak.

We believed for years, continued Dr. Lejeune, that the chromosomes of human
males and females are identical. Now we know that the DNA carried by the
sperm is not underlined, or not crossed out by methylation in the same places
as in the DNA carried by the ovum. Underlining or deleting is not done in the
same way in the male chromosome and its equivalent female chromosome.
When male and female unite, some information is to be read as coming from
the male chromosome, some from the female.

When the original human cell, the fertilized ovum, divides into two cells, that
written information goes from one cell to the other: "When it's split in two we
know that exchange of information comes from one cell to the other. When it's
split in three it receives information: "We are an individual." [Dr. Lejeune had
explained that the original cell splits into two cells; one of the two then splits
again, and there are three. After some time, the other also splits, and there are

And when the cleavage continues progressively, the underlining and deleting is
progressively changed so that the cells differentiate, becoming specialized
"doing a nail, doing hair, doing skin, doing neurons, doing everything." In the
first cell not only the entire genetic message was there in the way it is still in
every cell; the first cell also had written in it the sequences, how they are to be
read one after another (Lejeune, op. cit. pp. 45-47)..

Dr. Lejeune goes on to show how male and female gametes are complementary
to each other, building up the body and its parts by cooperative action. When
two male nuclei are inserted into an ovum from which the female nucleus has
been removed, the sequential program does not move forward to build an entire
body; instead it produces an androgenote, little cysts which look like the
chorion and placenta. Two female nuclei make spare parts, pieces of skin, of
teeth, little nails. In other words, when not sequenced properly by
preprogrammed methylization of paternal and maternal gametes, the ability to
build a viable body is not there.

The long and short of genetic science, therefore, is that human life develops as
one continuum from zygote to maturity. There is no finding there of delayed
personhood. If twinning occurs, we may assume that the initial person remains
alive while a second person also comes to life.

Why should anyone argue that the zygote is no person because his or her twin
may also come to life later?


Seminarians ought to receive correct biological information about how human
beings begin, so that when they become our priests and bishops they have the
mental capacity to make correct moral judgments about responsibilities toward
human life. Seminarians at the Tokyo Catholic Theological Seminary,
unfortunately, are going to get facts about when life begins all wrong, if they
believe what their current Professor of Moral Theology wrote some years ago.
To date the Professor has not retracted publicly what he wrote in Koe magazine
in 1987:

    We must distinguish between a human life and a human being...The
    fertilized ovum is programmed genetically to become an individual
    body, so that it has definitely begun its process towards individual
    human life. In other words, at this stage the fertilized ovum cannot yet
    be called a human person...

    However, at what point of time one can speak of a human person "with
    a heart" is a problem whose solution is very, very difficult, and neither
    science nor philosophy can find its way to draw a line ("The Vatican
    and Reverence for Life," Koe, August-September 1987; translated
    from Japanese by the present writer).


The Tokyo Morals Professor, lacking scientific backing, appeals to other priests
rather than to scientists for confirmation, as though more decibels would
confirm his affirmation:

    Moral theologian McCormick uses the term nascent human life (human
    life in formation). He does not call it individual life. Curran says that
    during the first 2 - 3 weeks after fertilization one cannot speak of this
    as being truly human in a strict sense. De Janni, K. Rahner, and various
    other Catholic theologians express doubt about whether a fertilized
    ovum can be called a human being with a heart before a month has
    gone by after fertilization took place...As Haering states, there is an
    area of obscurity during the interval from conception to personalization
    (Koe article).

Unfortunately, it is true that "Moral theologian McCormick" [not an
embryologist] uses the term pre-embryo which embryologists rightly reject:

    The Rev. Richard McCormick, writing in the Kennedy Institute of
    Ethics Journal, now questions the judgment of the Catholic Church
    relative to the time of ensoulment from conception to sometime later in
    development ("Who or what is the pre-embryo?" KIE Journal, 1991,
    1:1-15). He uses the term pre-embryo which is not an established
    embryological term (The Human Development Hoax, C. Ward Kischer,
    Ph.D., Dianne N. Irving, Ph.D., second edition 1997, p. 23; distributed
    by American Life League, Stafford, Virginia).

Kischer has taught human embryology to medical students, upper division and
graduate students since 1960. Irving worked for seven years at the National
Institutes of Health, Cancer Institute, as a career-appointed research
biochemist and obtained her doctorate in Philosophy from Georgetown
University. Both are thoroughly familiar with the current attempt to make
experiments with embryos and human cloning legal, and with the people and
issues concerned. In their book The Human Development Hoax they point out
the immense mischief now being done by the invented term pre-embryo which
has no foundation in scientific embryology, but was created arbitrarily.

Embryologist Kischer denies the validity of the term pre-embryo. He brands it
as "The big lie in Human Embryology" and points out that professional
embryologists do not recognize such a stage of development (Kischer-Irving
73). Father McCormick bases his use of the term on Clifford Grobstein who
used it in 1979. Clifford used the term to defend Edwards and Steptoe who had
employed external fertilization techniques which resulted in the birth of Louise
Joy Brown in 1969. The term was invoked not on the basis of observed human
development, but as a political ploy to gain acceptance of in vitro fertilization.
Kischer deals with pseud-arguments of Grobstein to justify the term, and points
out that professional embryologists reject it (pp. 74-80). Irving likewise refutes
arguments by Father Norman Ford and others that there is an "biological
individual" present at fertilization, but rational ensoulment does not occur until
later (pp.141-155).


Dr. Irving points out (pp. 147 ff.) that the Supreme Court realized that if the
human fetus were to be recognized as a human person, then it would have a
right to life under provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court
therefore decided that no one knows when life begins: "We need not resolve
the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective
disciplines of medicine, philosophy and theology are unable to arrive at any
consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man's knowledge,
is not in a position to speculate as to the answer." They conclude that the
human fetus is only "potential human life", or a "potential person".

The High Court's decision notwithstanding, continues Irving:

    There is absolutely no question, scientifically, when the life of a human
    being begins. It begins at fertilization. That is a scientific fact and
    represents a scientific consensus. This remains true no matter what
    philosophers, bioethics or theologians, throughout all of the ages or
    from all cultures, try to proclaim. The proof is under the microscope.
    There is also no such thing, as was assumed and declared by this Court,
    as a human embryo or a fetus who is a "potential human life," or a
    "potential human person." There is, to the contrary, an already existing
    human being with the potential to grow and develop further.

    By their action, the Court has established what they want us to believe
    to be an insoluble and "difficult" question. Consequently, the Court
    saw fit to impose certain specific philosophical, bioethical and
    theological opinions about "delayed personhood" on the entire country,
    in the guise of a "neutral"or "consensus-driven" public policy
    (Kischer-Irving, p. 219).

The Court's fudging about when human life begins is pursued today in attempts
to justify research that costs the lives of human embryos, and research on
embryonic stem cells which are obtained at the cost of the lives of embryos.
"The National Institute of Health, Human Embryo Research Panel has already
issued its recommendations, basing them on their conclusion that the
`pre-implantation human embryo...does not have the same moral status as
infants and children." Furthermore, these theories of "delayed personhood" are
precisely those of Grobstein, McCorrmick and others, referenced in the Panel's
recommendations (Kischer-Irving, 222).

The term pre-embryo has become an automatic death sentence for innocent

    According to Grobstein and McCormick, "pre-embryos" are merely
    "genetic individuals" and not "developmental individuals" yet, and
    therefore they are not "persons". Since they are not legitimate
    full-blown "persons" yet, they do not have the moral or legal rights and
    protections that actual human persons possess (and therefore these
    "pre-embryos" could be aborted, experimented with, disposed of, etc.)
    (Kischer-Irving p. 39).


Canon 1398 reads: "A person who actually procures an abortion occurs a latae
sententiae excommunication."

Because the rights of zygotes and embryos are being violated routinely and on
a vast scale, and because several priests and seminary professors notoriously
dissent from the Church teaching about reverence for life from the time of
fertilization, the writer hopes that the Church will see fit to apply Canon 1398
to those who wantonly treat human zygotes and embryos as though they were
less than human beings. Such action would, hopefully, motivate these priests to
cease and desist from promoting their homemade theology.

Published in Homiletic and Pastoral Review, June, 2000

*     *     *     *     *     *     *
  GOP House Leaders Strongly Oppose Embryonic Stem Cell Research

[Pro-Life Infonet Note:  The following is a joint statement by House
Majority Leader Richard Armey, House Majority Whip Tom DeLay and House
Republican Conference Chairman J.C. Watts, Jr.]

Washington, DC -- "It is our sincere hope that the Bush Administration
makes the right decision on the stem cell issue to uphold current law and
prohibit federal funding of embryonic stem cell research while promoting
adult stem cell alternatives.

"The federal government cannot morally look the other way with respect to
the destruction of human embryos, then accept and pay for extracted stem
cells for the purpose of medical research.  It is not pro-life to rely on
an industry of death, even if the intention is to find cures for diseases.
We can find cures with life-affirming, not life-destroying, methods that
are becoming more promising with each passing day.

"Republicans in Congress take a back seat to no one when it comes to
promoting medical research.  Under our leadership, the National Institutes
of Health has received record levels of funding in order to find cures for
diseases.  We will continue to properly fund this crucial research, but it
must advance the cause of life without sacrificing some lives to better

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:   GOP House Leaders Strongly Oppose Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Source:   House Pro-Life Caucus; July 2, 2001

Senator Trent Lott Opposes Embryonic Stem Cell Research

  The top Republican in the U.S. Senate today indicated he is
  opposed to life-destroying embryonic stem cell research. "There
  are some very positive things that can be done without going into
  the area of forming or harvesting embryonic stem cells," Senator
  Trent Lott (R-MS) said, adding that he believed the American public
  shared his concerns. In contrast, the top Democrat in the Senate,
  Majority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota, has urged Bush to
  authorize funding for the research. If Bush refuses, Daschle said he
  would push for passage of legislation to that effect.
(Reuters; July 16, 2001)

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They Were Once Emrbyos
By Ramesh Ponnuru

[Pro-Life Infonet Note:  Ramesh Ponnuru is an editor of National Review.]

Research on stem cells taken from embryos may have the potential to cure
man's ills, as we're told, but so far it's doing more to cloud men's
minds. This is true even in the case of as clever a mind as that of Robert
Wright, the Slate columnist. Earlier this week, he wrote an article
arguing that pro-lifers should not object to the research. (I take it that
Wright is not himself a pro-lifer, but in the course of his argument is
trying to sketch, for those of us who are, a more defensible position than
the one most of us hold.)

Wright's major points are that the embryos are going to be discarded
anyway and that it is possible to draw a valid moral distinction an embryo
in a womb and one in a petri dish. An editorial in National Review
addressed these points and I won't go into them again here too deeply. The
latter point simply baffles me: I have no idea how anyone could imagine
that location would be a morally relevant criterion here. Wright says that
Orrin Hatch's position -- that location and fertilization are the
necessary and sufficient conditions for personhood -- "is a perfectly
coherent position, devoid of internal contradictions." I suppose that's
true, just as the position that personhood also requires the presence of a
big toe, or residence in a temperate clime, would be coherent and devoid
of internal contradictions.

Wright makes a subsidiary point, though, that is worth addressing because
it's a staple of the abortion debates as well. He begins by ridiculing a
congressional hearing organized by opponents of embryonic stem-cell
research. That hearing included the testimony of people who had been
frozen embryos but were later adopted. The idea of the hearing, writes
Wright, is to suggest that these people wouldn't be here if instead of
being left frozen those embryos were harvested for stem cells. "And of
course this is true. It's also true that if my parents had used a condom
-- or a little self-discipline, for crying out loud! -- in the spring of
1956, I wouldn't be here. So I'm waiting for my call to testify in support
of legislation banning condoms and self-discipline."

If Wright's characterization of the polemical point of the hearing is
correct, then his analogy is indeed valid on this limited point. The
argument against destroying human embryos cannot be simply that if embryos
are destroyed, people who would otherwise exist will not. But the analogy
fails if the point of the hearing was to establish that if those embryos
had been destroyed, the people testifying would have been killed. If
Wright's father had been sterile, or used contraception, or mated with a
different woman, Wright would not have existed, but he also would not have
been killed as there would never have been a Wright to kill. Robert Wright
was never a sperm, never an egg, never a sperm and an egg. But he was an
embryo back in 1956. And it would have been wrong to destroy him, in the
womb or outside it (and with or without federal funding, I might add).

Of course, either scenario -- Wright's never coming into being, or his
destruction -- would have deprived us all of one of the smartest and most
interesting, if occasionally wrongheaded and supercilious, writers around.

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:   They Were Once Emrbyos
Source:   National Review; July 19, 2001

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Pro-Life Position Against Embryonic Stem Cell Research is Rational
by Ramesh Ponnuru

[Pro-Life Infonet Note:  Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for the newsweekly National Review.]

Americans' attitudes toward abortion are notoriously muddled. But it is
safe to say that they tend to dislike pro-lifers more than pro-choicers,
even when they themselves favor curbs on abortion. Pro-lifers have a
suspect, a frightening, passion. They are agitators; they are religious
zealots. Pro-choicers, on the other hand, are the party of reason. They
see all the pitfalls of prohibiting abortion. They understand that
abortion raises issues much more complex than sentimental slogans about
"protecting unborn babies" can capture.

This is, I think, a widespread view about the combatants in the abortion
wars. It is also close to 180 degrees from the truth. Sentiment has been
the pro-choicers' ally more often than not. The pro-life position, on the
other hand, must ultimately be rooted in rigorous logic. A pro-life
position that is merely sentimental is a weak and unsustainable thing --
as demonstrated, most recently, in the controversy over embryonic
stem-cell research.

Pro-choicers can depend more reliably on sentiment than pro-lifers for the
simple reason that distressed pregnant women elicit more sympathy than en
dangered fetuses. Nobody remembers being a fetus. Nobody has held a
fetus's hand. But many women know what it is like to be pregnant under
difficult circumstances, or can easily imagine it. All of us, men and
women alike, have known or can imagine a woman we care about in that
situation: a sister, a friend. The fetus has almost no emotional claim on
us. It -- we think of the young fetus as an "it," not a "he" or "she,"
although of course every fetus has a chromosomally determined sex -- is an
abstraction to us, usually nameless.

Smart people have attempted to found moral theory on natural sentiments:
One thinks of no less a figure than Adam Smith. But these attempts are
doomed. Untutored sentiment is a poor guide to morality. No profound
knowledge of history or psychology is necessary to see that our sympathy
often fails to recognize the legitimate moral claims of those we do not
know or of those we do not look like. Tender feelings alone cannot lead us
to grasp the requirements of decency or justice. It takes abstract
reasoning to tell us, first, that the fetus is a living human being, and
then to follow that premise to the eventual conclusion that abortion is a
violation of human rights.

To say that the pro-life position is rooted in abstract logic is not, of
course, to deny that its adherents possess strong emotions about the
matter, or even that their emotions are stronger than those of
pro-choicers. As Richard Brookhiser has remarked in this connection,
thoughts, if they are taken seriously, do not lie idly on the mind's
table. They lead to further thoughts, and emotions and sensibilities form
around them like crystals.

Nor do I mean to suggest that pro-lifers never make non-rational appeals.
Many pro-choicers find the pro-life movement's rhetoric about "babies"
manipulative. Fetuses aren't babies, they say. But pro-lifers don't really
hold the views they hold because they think fetuses are babies; rather,
they know that fetuses are members of human race. (Fifteen-year-olds,
31-year-olds, and 62-year-olds aren't babies, either, but nobody thinks
it's okay to kill them.) The campaign against partial-birth abortion is an
attempt by pro-lifers to win support from Americans in the "mushy middle"
by stressing the grisliness of some abortions. But pro-lifers took up that
campaign as a tactic, not because they really believe one method of
abortion is worse than another.

For pro-choicers, however, an appeal to sentiment is frequently not merely
a tactic or a bit of loose rhetoric but the entirety of the argument.
Katha Pollitt, The Nation's engaging feminist columnist, jeers at
pro-lifers for fretting about the fate of clusters of cells smaller than a
fingernail. But surely size cannot be our criterion for determining when
rights should be protected.

If the appeal of sentiment has been powerful in the debate over abortion,
it has been irresistible in the one over embryonic stem cells. Research
using these cells may yield cures or treatments for Parkinson's disease,
Alzheimer's, and other ailments. But the extraction of the cells, and thus
the research, requires the destruction of embryos. A recent cover story on
stem cells in Newsweek was typical of press coverage in following the
usual script of pro-life religious fanatics vs. science. But this is in
fact a conflict in which the average person's emotional reaction is almost
completely one-sided. On the one hand, people -- movie stars, relatives of
congressmen and journalists, your next-door neighbor -- with terrible
diseases. On the other hand, what looks like a clump of cells in some lab.

Indeed, the pro-abortion writer Anna Quindlen has advocated stem-cell
research on the precise grounds that it would make people even more
emotionally inclined to dismiss concerns about abortion: "[S]ome who
believe that life begins at conception may look into the vacant eyes of an
adored parent with Alzheimer's or picture a paralyzed child walking again,
and take a closer look at what an embryo really is." Quindlen would have
us judge difficult moral questions by taking a look and forming a picture
-- by acts of dumb perception rather than of intellection. This is not
surprising coming from a woman whose nonfiction oeuvre practically
constitutes a sustained implicit brief against the application of logic to
social controversies.

More surprising, perhaps, is that many people who are usually pro-life
have adopted this way of thinking, or rather not thinking, to justify
embryonic stem-cell research. Here is Republican senator Orrin Hatch
speaking to the New York Times: "I just cannot equate a child living in
the womb, with moving toes and fingers and a beating heart, with an embryo
in a freezer." He has made similar comments elsewhere, with particular
emphasis on the womb/freezer distinction and the embryo's lack of visibly
human characteristics. But surely neither temperature nor location is
morally decisive. Nobody would question whether a twelve-year-old who had
been conceived in a lab was a human being entitled to full rights as such.

Wall Street Journal editor Robert Bartley, who while not a pro-lifer
himself is a frequent ally of pro-lifers, has made a similar argument for
embryonic stem-cell research. Using the term for a six-day-old embryo, he
writes, "I would find a funeral service for a blastocyst gro tesque." Most
miscarriages do not occasion funerals either, but presumably Bartley would
not deny that what miscarriages end are tiny human lives. Blastocysts may
not look like human beings at first glance. But on reflection, they look
exactly like human beings -- exactly like human beings at that stage of
development; exactly like all of us once looked. (Not that stem-cell
research and miscarriages raise the same moral issues. Michael Kinsley
remarks in Time that since pro-lifers are not exercised about the
thousands of miscarriages that happen every year -- a "mass slaughter of
embryos" -- they shouldn't oppose the destruction of a few embryos for
medical research. This is a miscarriage of logic. The elderly die in large
numbers every year, too, but that doesn't mean it's okay to extract organs
they need to survive for research purposes.)

One virtue of the pro-life position is its clarity. Life begins at
conception, and taking human life can be allowed under only the strictest
of circumstances. Pro-choicers have a much harder time drawing a line past
which life is unambiguously protected. Their views of when life begins
generally fall into one of three categories: 1) The fetus, like
Schrdinger's cat, exists in a kind of suspended state of life/non-life
until the mother decides what she wants; 2) there is some continuum in
which a fetus that is not a human life gradually becomes one; or 3) we
don't really need to think about this obscure theological mystery. (Oddly
enough, in the philosophical literature on abortion it is more common to
see pro-choicers speculating on when "ensoulment" might occur than to see
pro-lifers pondering the question.) In practice, they appear to draw the
line at birth. At least their most powerful contingent, the judges, do.

A pro-life position not rooted in logic ends up having the same
line-drawing problem. When do pro-life supporters of stem-cell research
believe life begins? They would seem to believe that a clump of matter
that is not a person somehow becomes inhabited by a person as it develops.
Rather than defend this theoretical disaster bordering on superstition,
some of these pro-lifers have resorted to the name games that pro-choicers
have used in the past: Blastocysts aren't embryos, embryos that have not
been implanted are pre-embryos, etc. But none of these nominal
distinctions -- nor the biological distinctions they denote -- mark a
point of moral distinction.

Bartley describes himself as a member of the "mushy middle" on abortion as
though it were good in itself not to draw principled distinctions. He
opposes partial-birth abortion because it is ugly, supports stem-cell
research because nobody grieves for blastocysts, seeks a middle ground
because the extremists are off-putting: a clump of positions united only
by sensibility.

The trouble with this middle ground is that, in addition to giving up
territory that should be defended, it is itself indefensible territory.
Slippery slopes are slippery because the logic that starts you down them
will lead you further down. During the stem-cell debate, people have said
that it's okay to use embryos for research because we already "discard"
plenty of embryos as a byproduct of in vitro fertilization; they could
with equal validity say that we should allow re search on five-month-old
fetuses because we allow them to be aborted. Judges have said that we have
to allow partial-birth abortion, or even euthanasia, because we allow
abortion. The Washington Post says that the logic of abortion rights does
not permit the law to charge people with murder when they kill an unborn
child in the course of an assault on a pregnant woman, even if the woman
considers it murder.

Slippery-slope arguments rarely succeed because people discount the
possibility of remote future horrors; they think they will be able to stop
the slide. But horrors can get less horrible as the future becomes less
remote. People adjust their sensibilities. In 1973, not even pro-abortion
lawyers were challenging Texas's law against partial-birth abortion. Back
then, embryo-killing re search would have seemed monstrous. I have read
the argument (in Reason, the libertarian magazine, as it happens) that
people predicted all kinds of dire consequences from in vitro
fertilization that did not happen, so why not allow cloning? One of the
dire consequences of in vitro fertilization, however, is precisely that we
are debating cloning now.

A common trope of the press coverage of the stem-cell conflict -- which
reeks of weariness at the continued existence of pro-lifers -- is that
it's a shame this "scientific issue" has gotten caught up in the
"politics" of abortion. But it is caught up in the issue because the
premises of the arguments are the same: Either conception results in a new
human being deserving of legal protection or it doesn't. No amount of
sophisticated hairsplitting over bioethics is going to work if it ignores
that awkward, obvious question.

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:  Pro-Life Position Against Embryonic Stem Cell Research is Rational
Source:   National Review; July 23rd Issue

Gary Bauer Responds to Virginia Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Washington, DC -- "The news that scientists at a Virginia lab have created
human embryos for the sole purpose of killing them for research should
deeply trouble every American," former presidential candidate Gary Bauer
said Wednesday, following a story in the New York Times reporting on a
company attempting to make money by killing unborn human life. "Human
life, unable to defend itself, is being used as a commodity.  This is a
moral tragedy of the highest order. We must stop the trafficking in human

Bauer, president of American Values, a non-profit, pro-family advocacy
organization, continued: "These Virginia scientists should read and ponder
the words of an other Virginian, Thomas Jefferson, who wrote in America's
Declaration of Independence these now famous words: 'We hold these truths
to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed
by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are
Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.'

"I urge the Bush Administration to act now to prevent any American from
being forced to subsidize research that attacks the basic sanctity and
worth of each human being.  A pro-life President can do no less."

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:   Gary Bauer Responds to Virginia Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Source:   American Values; July 11, 2001

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Another Kind of Adoption

by  Mona Charen

The New York Times, to its credit really, has given front-page
treatment to an issue that should not actually trouble hard-line pro-choice
types -- the question of what to do with abandoned embryos.

It seems that around the nation, tens of thousands of human
embryos, leftovers of in vitro fertilization procedures, are sitting in
liquid nitrogen with nowhere to go. And couples often devote less
attention to what becomes of them than they would to a stray dog.

When attempting in vitro fertilization, clinics typically give
women a drug that causes multiple ovulations in each cycle. The eggs are
then surgically "retrieved" and combined with the husband's sperm in a
petri dish. A day or two later, several embryos are placed in the
woman's uterus in hopes that one or two (twins are far more common among in
vitro patients than in the population at large) will implant and
proceed to term. Quite often, no embryo implants in the uterine lining and
the woman does not become pregnant. Sometimes, all of them do, causing some
people to choose "pregnancy reduction" or selective abortion to reduce,
say, a quintuplet pregnancy to a twin pregnancy in order to increase the
chances of a successful outcome.

But quite often a couple will produce large numbers of embryos
and only use a fraction to produce their family. The Times offers the
example of Robert and Suzanne Gray, who gave birth to four children using in
vitro fertilization but who still had 23 embryos in storage at the end.

For some couples, the mixing of human eggs and sperm is merely
the manufacture of a highly desirable commodity -- their own
biological offspring. But once they have achieved their goal, the remaining
embryos are seen not as potential children but simply as extra property.
And like so many women who say that they would sooner abort than place a
child for adoption, many couples with embryos on ice think equally selfishly.

One woman, who has two sons by in vitro, told the Times that she
plans to donate her frozen embryos for stem-cell research. "If I give
these embryos to another couple, then my children will have a full sibling out
there, a blood sibling. My embryos may not be somebody's child, but maybe
my embryos could help somebody's child walk."

It is hard to imagine a more blatant case of self-justification.
It makes her uncomfortable to contemplate her offspring "out there," so
she decides to destroy them and call it the noble attempt to "help somebody's
child walk."

It obviously never occurred to that woman to place her embryos
with a couple in another part of the country where her kids would be
unlikely to run into them. Nor did it probably trouble her, when she was
having infertility treatment, that she might have leftover embryos. More
morally sensitive people have resolved before they begin the process that
they will either implant every embryo they can produce -- and people
do have some control over how many are produced -- or donate the extra
embryos to other infertile couples.

While clinics can sell human eggs and sperm, they cannot sell
embryos without risking prosecution under laws forbidding baby-selling --
evidence that the clinics (or their lawyers) may be more sensitive to the
human potential in their freezers than the couples who produced the
embryos.  Many clinics have been reduced to running ads in newspapers
begging parents to make a decision about embryos that have
been in cold storage for as many as 15 years.

Adoption placement would seem a viable alternative for thousands.
Today, infertile couples frequently must wait years for an adoptable
baby to become available. Certainly some fraction of the estimated 2
million couples who wait to adopt are capable of carrying an embryo to
term even if their own eggs or sperm are defective. And the cost, usually
about $3,000 is much lower than traditional adoption.

Snowflakes Embryo Adoption program run by Nightlight Christian
Adoptions in Fullerton, Calif., places embryos with couples around the
nation. But for this option to take hold more fully, parents of embryos must
recognize that the cells they left in limbo at the clinic are not disposable.

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:   Mona Charen:  Another Kind of Adoption
Source:   Creater's Syndicate; February 27, 2001

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President Reagan Would Have Opposed Embryo Stem Cell Research
Cal Thomas

[Pro-Life Infonet Note:  Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist
and respected pro-life author and media personality. "The Wit and Wisdom
of Cal Thomas," from Promise Press, is due in bookstores this month.]

Advocates for embryonic stem cell research are pulling out all the stops,
hoping President Bush will approve federal funding.

A really big gun was brought out last week when former first lady Nancy
Reagan joined two Reagan administration aides - Michael Deaver and Ken
Duberstein - in communicating to the president their support for such

Nancy Reagan's voice should be heard, given the grace and strength she has
shown in taking care of her husband in sickness and in health. But there's
one voice that trumps all the rest - that of Ronald Reagan himself. That
voice has been absent from the public square since the former president
developed Alzheimer's disease, yet he has spoken of the value of human
life and the need to protect it at all stages.

President Reagan wrote a compelling and simple defense of human life in a
1983 essay for Human Life Review. That essay was turned into a book with
concurring opinions by then-Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, and the late
British writer Malcolm Muggeridge.

In his essay, "Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation," Reagan
succinctly and powerfully made his case for the defense of human life,
regardless of status or condition. In his skillful and simple way that
once resonated with so many people, Reagan wrote: "... anyone who doesn't
feel sure whether we are talking about a second human life should clearly
give life the benefit of the doubt. If you don't know whether a body is
alive or dead, you would never bury it. I think this consideration itself
should be enough for all of us to insist on protecting the unborn."

Then Reagan cut to the heart of this continuing and wrenching debate: "The
real question today is not when human life begins, but, What is the value
of human life?... The real question for (the baby) and for all of us is
whether that tiny human life has a God-given right to be protected by the
law - the same right we have."

The July 23 issue of Time magazine trumpets its belief that "apes became
human" and "made an evolutionary leap." If that's true and we're all the
product of evolutionary accident, why stop with embryonic stem cell
research? Let's experiment on blacks, the retarded, the handicapped and
homosexuals - all of whom some elites in the past have not judged as fully
human. Let's apologize to the descendants of those Nazi doctors who were
simply ahead of their time.

In a Time essay in the same issue, Charles Krauthammer (who was trained as
a medical doctor) says we should proceed with embryonic stem cell
research, but "federal regulation should be strict and unbending." He
wants to ban human cloning and thinks Congress should make it a crime. He
wants to outlaw the creation of embryos solely for the purpose of
harvesting. He would allow stem cell research "only" on discarded
fertility clinic embryos or those from "fetal cadavers" (translation:
aborted babies who can be killed up to the moment of birth).

What moral, ethical or philosophical reason is there for such an approach?
Krauthammer gives none. The next step on this slippery slope will not be
governed by an immutable moral code but by opinion polls, shaped by
scientists who will want to do more simply because they've discovered they

Krauthammer tries to redeem the point he has ceded by claiming that we
"owe posterity a moral universe not trampled and corrupted by arrogant,
brilliant science." We long ago gave up that universe and have settled in
a foreign land. The protective fence that surrounded even agnostics in
past centuries was rooted in the principles of the Ten Commandments and
the philosophy and instructions of the Beatitudes. But we aborted those
principles and now we abort ourselves.

Soon, with no controlling moral authority, we will euthanize the elderly
and the handicapped. At each stage, we will be consoled that we are doing
good. We will have long forgotten the words of Ronald Reagan, as we have
forgotten the words of the prophet Isaiah: "Woe to them who call evil

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:   Cal Thomas:  President Reagan Would Have Opposed ESCR
Source:   Los Angeles Times Syndicate; July 20, 2001

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Hubert Hueppe, vice-president of the German
parliament's bioethics commission, described so-called therapeutic cloning
as "far worse" than reproductive cloning because "humans would be created
with the sole purpose of being killed." Many scientists, politicians and
church leaders, both Catholic and protestant, have spoken out against
embryo research in Germany. Joerg-Dietrich Hoppe, head of country's
association of medical doctors, suggested that his British counterparts
were putting profit before morality. [National Post online, 23 August]

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Harvard Researcher:  Adult Stem Cells May Eliminate Need Embryonic Ones

Boston, MA -- The permanent reversal of Type 1 diabetes in mice may end
the wrenching debate over harvesting stem cells from the unborn to treat
adult diseases. Researchers at Harvard Medical School killed cells
responsible for the diabetes, then the animals' adult stem cells took over
and regenerated missing cells needed to produce insulin and eliminate the

"It should be possible to use the same method to reverse Type 1 diabetes
in humans," says Denise Faustman, the associate professor of medicine who
leads the research. Setting up a trial for patients has already begun at
Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Type 1 diabetes is an "autoimmune" disease in which the body's blood cells
attack its own organs and tissues. Such maladies include rheumatoid
arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus, and more than 50 other ailments.
Faustman believes that many of them may be similarly cured by poisoning
the offending cells and letting adult stem cells regrow replacement

"Once the disease is out of the way, adult stem cells regenerate normal
organs and tissues," Faustman says. "What is more, we should be able to
replace damaged organs and tissues by using adult stem cells, thus
eliminating, at least temporarily, the need to harvest and transplant stem
cells from embryos and fetuses. Of course, it will take years before we
know for sure if we can do this in humans."

Stem cells from embryos have the ability to grow into all other types of
cells. They may be able to mature into brain cells to repair damage from
strokes, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases; into heart cells to heal
the ravages of heart attacks; and into organs to replace those ruined by
cancer. But problems exist in getting such cells to mature into a specific
type of cell and to home in on a specific place. There's also the problem
of stopping them from growing once the repair is made. Uncontrolled growth
may lead to tumors.

The existence of adult stem cells raises the question of why the body
doesn't use them on a regular basis to heal itself. It may be because
adult stem-cell populations are small and need some sort of outside
stimulation. There's recent evidence that additional adult cells injected
into mice start to repair heart attack and stroke damage.

In the diabetes experiments, cells that attack insulin-producing islet
cells in the pancreas were destroyed. The researchers intended to follow
up the killings with transplants of healthy islet cells but, to their
surprise, this turned out to be unnecessary because adult stem cells took
over the work.

"It was a miracle that we didn't expect," Faustman comments.

An estimated 16 million people have diabetes in the United States. About
10 percent of these patients suffer from Type 1, which used to be called
juvenile diabetes because it commonly appears between ages 10 and 16. Type
1 diabetics cannot make insulin to convert blood sugars into energy, so
they must inject themselves daily with the hormone to survive. New cases
have tripled in the United States in the past 50 years.

Type 2, formerly called adult-onset diabetes, usually occurs gradually
after age 40, and often can be managed by diet and exercise. The two types
together are the leading cause of kidney failure, adult blindness, and
limb amputation, as well as major risk factors for heart disease, strokes,
and birth defects.

Faustman isn't sure if her technique will work with Type 2 diabetes. "We
really don't know if replacing the islet cells will do the job," she says.
"Some experts think that the resistance to insulin comes from outside the
pancreas. There's also the possibility that Type 2 diabetics used up their
stem cells at a faster rate," which decreases their repair capacity.

The Harvard-Massachusetts General Hospital team believes they can move
from mice to humans because the same defective pathways exist in both
species. "We always begin our projects with human cells," Faustman
explains. "When we observe something important but can't experiment with
patients, we go to mice."

The defective pathway in both humans and mice has been known for years.
It's been well-studied in cancer and AIDS research, but everyone missed
its connection to autoimmune disease until Faustman's lab hit upon it.

The defect involves a genetic mutation that causes white blood cells to
attack the insulin-producing cells. It's as if the body rejects part of
itself because it cannot tell the difference between normal cells and
foreign invaders like viruses or bacteria. Faustman's team found they
could destroy the offending cells with drugs.

When given to the mice, a compound known as CFA boosted the production of
another substance known as tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF). Years ago,
researchers tested TNF as a cancer drug, then as an AIDS treatment, but
have abandoned it since.

TNF wiped out cells that couldn't tell self from nonself, but this was
believed to be only a temporary respite. Everyone thought it could only
last until the body made new white blood cells with the same defect. To
counter this inevitability, they planned another treatment to re-educate
the new cells so they would not attack insulin-making tissues in the

Once the diseased cells were out of the way, however, adult stem cells
took over and grew new islets in 40 days.

"At first we thought we had failed," Faustman recalls. She and her
colleagues planned to follow up by transplanting healthy islet cells grown
in their laboratory. "But the biological indicators we saw were not what
we wanted for such transplants. Then we gradually realized that there were
now islet cells where none had existed 40 days before. It was astonishing!
We had reversed the disease without the need for transplants."

"These results are remarkable and surprising," comments David M. Nathan,
the Harvard professor of medicine who will attempt to do the same
experiments with humans at Massachusetts General Hospital. "We need
careful studies to find out if we can delete the offending blood cells in
humans in the same way that it was done in mice. Adult stem cells in these
mice were apparently inactive or suppressed until cells that attacked the
pancreas were removed. We don't know yet if human adult stem cells can
accomplish the same regeneration. If they can, and it will take years to
find out, that opens the way to treating other autoimmune diseases like
multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis."

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:   Harvard Researcher:  Adult Stem Cells May Eliminate Need Embryonic Ones
Source:   Hrvard University Gazette; July 19, 2001

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Clinton-Gore Administration To Violate Law By
Federal Sponsorship of Embryo-Killing Research

WASHINGTON -- The National Institutes of Health (NIH) today (August 23)  
released final guidelines for sponsoring research that will kill human
embryos in order to obtain their stem cells.  In response, the National
Right to Life Committee (NRLC) issued the following statement:

"The Clinton-Gore Administration is preparing to violate the law by
funding research that will kill human embryos," said NRLC Legislative
Director Douglas Johnson.  "We believe these funds instead should be used
for research on stem cells taken from adults, an area in which there have
been many recent breakthroughs."

Since 1996, federal law (the "Dickey Amendment") has prohibited federal
funding of any "research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed,
discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death . . . "  
Yet, under the guidelines released today, researchers would obtain advance
approval from NIH for projects that require the obtaining and killing of
numerous human embryos.  The Administration says that this is legal as
long as non-federal funds are used to actually kill the embryos -- a claim
dismissed by NRLC.  "If a law said that no federal funds may support
research in which porpoises are destroyed,' and a federal agency then told
its grantees to arrange for porpoises to be caught and killed for use in
federally approved experiments, everyone would recognize this as illegal,"  
Johnson commented.

For information on recent advances in stem cell research that does not
require the killing of human embryos,

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Congressional Letter Urges Bush to Fund Embryo Stem Cell Research

Washington, DC -- Following the lead of their Senate counterparts, nearly
half the members of the House of Representatives sent President Bush a
letter Friday urging him to allow federal funding of embryonic stem cell

The letter was signed by 202 House members, including 40 Republicans, and
follows two similar letters sent to Bush last week signed by 61 sentators,
including 13 Republicans.

Pro-abortion Rep. Jim Ramstad (R-MN), who sponsored the letter, said
another 12 House Republicans have told him they favor federal funding for
the research but were reluctant to go public with their support and did
not sign the letter.

The numbers are significant because they come close to the simple majority
of 218 votes needed to pass legislation in the 435-member House, if
members wanted to reverse a presidential decision against ESCR funding.

Ramstad and his co-sponsor, pro-abortion Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) said
they wanted to send Bush a message.

"There's no question our letter, our strong bipartisan support is an
attempt to influence the president so that he makes the right decision,"
Ramstad said.

The letter reads in part: "Mr. President, you have read and heard from the
scientists that research on embryonic stem cells could result in
treatments or cures for millions of Americans suffering a variety of
illnesses including diabetes, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's, and heart
disease. We urge you to take our views into consideration when you make
this incredibly important decision. You have the lives of millions of our
-- and your -- constituents in your hands."

"There is a clear showing of support for this research in Congress," said

She said she hopes the letter bolsters the president should he decide to
support embryonic stem cell research, and that it sends "a strong message
to the American public that their representatives think that this will
benefit tens of millions of Americans."

Ramstad and DeGette said White House officials have indicated a decision
from the president was imminent, within days or weeks.

"That's why we thought it was imperative ... that we get the letter down
there today," Ramstad said.

Most of the Republicans who signed the letter, including Ramstad, support
abortion. However, three normally pro-life lawmakers signed the letter
including:  Rep. Phil English (R-PA), Randy Cunningham (R-CA) and John
Duncan (R-TN).

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:   Congressional Letter Urges Bush to Fund ESCR
Source:   CNN, Associated Press; July 27, 2001

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Pro-Life Democrat Opposes Funding of ESCR
  Pro-life Democrat gene Taylor (R-MS) has once against made a stand
  for life that flies in the face of his party's anti-life position. In
this case,
  Taylor announced his opposition to federal funding of ESCR. He is also
  a co-sponsor of a House bill that would create a national donor bank of
  stem cells from non-embryonic sources, human placentas, umbilical cord
  blood, or from human fetuses that died of natural causes such as
  spontaneous abortion. (Jackson Sun Herald; July 29, 2001)

*     *     *     *     *     *
Florida Congressman Speaks Out Against ESCR
  Last week, pro-life Congressman Cliff Stearns (R-FL) spoke out
  against federal funding of ESCR in a speech delivered on the floor
  of Congress. "Embryonic stem cell research  treats an embryo as
  a clump of tissue with less protection than a laboratory rat. There
  are promising alternative sources of stem cells with which to perform
  promising medical research. We must not allow Federal dollars to fund
  this destructive and needless practice."
(Congressional Record; July 27, 2001)

Singapore Catholic Doctors Pray Against Embryo Stem Cell Research

Singapore -- Singapore's hopes of becoming a biomedical hub have hit an
ethical snag with a group Roman Catholic doctors staging a prayer vigil
against the use of human embryos in research.

The Catholic Medical Guild of Singapore, made up of some 300 doctors,
kicked off 10 days of prayer on Wednesday against embryonic stem cell

"We are praying that embryonic stem cell research will be discontinued,
not just in Singapore but throughout the world," guild president Dr John
Hui told Reuters on Thursday. "We were human at the point of inception...
and we believe that absolute respect should be accorded to the human
embryo from the very beginning of life."

Singapore has poured at least S$3 billion ($1.7 billion US) into boosting
research and seeding start-ups in the city state's fledgling life sciences
industry but has no regulations so far. The government also has a stake in
Australia-based company ES Cell International, which is emerging as a
major player in the production and supply of embryonic stem cells for

Singapore's Bioethics Advisory Committee (BAC) is expected to present
legal and ethical guidelines to the government by the end of the year
after gathering public feedback and studying regulations adopted around
the globe. "At the moment there are no official national guidelines,"
Professor Lim Pin, chairman of the BAC, told Reuters. "Eventually a
balanced position will be taken."

Hui said the guild has presented its objections to the BAC.

"We don't engage in protests," he said. "We hope and pray they will
seriously take a stand that will be on the side of the embryo."

However, Hui said the guild was not opposed to the use of adult stem cells
in research, which can be gathered non-destructively.

In January, Britain became the first country to allow the use of human
embryos in stem cell research and the reproduction of human stem cells --
so-called therapeutic cloning -- even as other nations debate the ethics
surrounding such research.

Singapore has attracted many multinational pharmaceutical manufacturers to
its shores and hopes to be equally successful as a research hub.

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:   Singapore Catholic Doctors Pray Against ESCR
Source:   Reuters; August 16, 2001

Pro-Life Groups Continue to Lobby Bush on Embryo Stem Cell Research

Washington, DC -- The leaders of several prominent pro-life organizations,
joined by some of their allies in Congress, are warning President Bush
that he risks demoralizing many of his core supporters if he flip-flops on
his previously stated opposition to federal funding for stem-cell research
that involves killing human embryos.

As late as May 18, Bush sent a letter to the Culture of Life Foundation,
saying, "I oppose federal funding for stem-cell research that involves
destroying living human embryos."

Since then, however, Bush has indicated that he is deliberating whether to
change his position.

"This is an emotional issue that goes right to the heart of the pro-life
movement," pro-life Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) said. "If the president changes
his position on embryonic stem-cell research one inch, he moves the bar
and forces those of us who strongly believe that life begins with
conception to have to make bigger arguments.  A change by the president on
this critical issue would demoralize us as a movement."

Family Research Council President Ken Connor said: "Any abdication by
President Bush of his campaign pledge to oppose embryonic research will
fracture his pro-life base, which was essential to his election in the
first place. It will absolutely inhibit his ability to marshal the
critical mass that he will need from his base in order to be re-elected."

Eagle Forum President Phyllis Schlafly agreed.

"We expect Bush to maintain current law against stem-cell research," she
indicated. "To do otherwise will severely damage his credibility, as well
as the pro-life cause."

Gary Bauer, who ran against President Bush for the Republican nomination
last year and who now serves as president of American Values, said: "No
one would have asked in the elder Bush's administration if a reversal of
his 'Read My Lips' pledge would have severely hurt him with economic
conservatives. Likewise, social conservatives must be serious about our
values. If such a complete reversal on a fundamental issue does not damage
him with cultural conservative supporters, one would have to conclude that
no serious social conservatism exists."

Would a Bush turnabout on stem-cell research actually lead pro-life
advocates to abandon the President in 2004 and vote for a Democrat or
third-party candidate out of spite? "No," said Michael Schwartz of
Concerned Women for America. "It's not that we would vote for the other
guy; it's just that we would have a very hard time getting our circles to
work for Bush in the next election."

Schwartz, a longtime congressional aide, said, "Bush's staff has already
turned this stem-cell issue into high-stakes political poker by waiting
and suggesting he might be reconsidering his position. It makes me very
uneasy to see him in doubt."

Pro-life Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), noting that Bush had won the highest
percentage of Roman Catholic voters since Ronald Reagan in 1984, said he
"was very concerned that if Bush ever changed his position, he would hurt
himself with Catholic voters. His strong showing among Catholics was due,
at least in part, to his positions on issues such as this. It would hurt
him with the conservative base, and most notably Republican Catholics, if
his position on embryonic stem-cell research ever changed."

If the President were to change his position, said pro-life Rep. John
Shadegg (R-AZ), it would "get him in some deep trouble" in 2004.

"Conservatives are watching this issue with great interest and concern,"
said Focus on the Family President James C. Dobson. "I believe President
Bush will make an enormous mistake if he reverses himself on the
preservation of embryonic life. It is our prayer that he will honor his
campaign pledge and protect human life from conception to the grave."

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:  Pro-Life Groups Continue to Lobby Bush on ESCR
Source:   Human Events; August 6, 2001

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