Catholic Bishops’ Spokesman Testifies at Presidential Commission

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 12, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC


Catholic Bishops’ Spokesman Testifies at Presidential Commission

by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 12, 2003

Washington, DC ( — Today the President’s Council on Bioethics heard testimony on the values and principles that ought to govern policy on human embryo research. Richard Doerflinger, Deputy Director of the Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, was among the expert witnesses for the meeting.

"Medical research can and should always be guided by fundamental
ethical norms," he said.

Doerflinger reviewed the limits to human subject experimentation
embraced by Western civilization over the last century, noting a
rejection of utilitarian approaches in favor of consideration for
the well-being of the human subject. He also addressed the
substantial agreement among ethical advisory boards in the last
quarter century that the human embryo deserves "respect" as a
form of human life.

"By rejecting research avenues that rely on the destruction of
developing human life," Doerflinger said, "our society will be
able to devote itself all the more enthusiastically to ethically
responsible medical research and the dissemination of its
benefits to all human beings, especially the poorest and most

"Research avenues posing no moral problem are rapidly advancing
to treat previously incurable diseases, offering us opportunities to work together on forms of medical progress that all can
support and that all patients can benefit from with a clear
conscience," he said.

To view his full testimony, please visit: