Illinois Bill Funding Embryonic Stem Cell Research Opposed by Doctors, Ethicists

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 16, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Illinois Bill Funding Embryonic Stem Cell Research Opposed by Doctors, Ethicists Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 16, 2004

Springfield, IL ( — A national doctors group and an organization that monitors bioethics issues have both come out in opposition to a bill that would allow human cloning to create and kill human embryos for scientific research.

The Illinois state legislature is headed back to town today for a two week lame-duck session prior to the start of the next legislative session in January. The bill is expected to receive a vote this week.

The Christian Medical Association, the nation’s largest faith-based doctors group, says HB 3589 is "a wolf in sheep’s clothing," noting that it condones human cloning, encourages abortion for research, and betrays an ignorance of stem cell science.

The bill clearly states ‘that research involving the derivation and use of human embryonic stem cells…from any source, including somatic cell nuclear transplantation, shall be permitted," Dr. David Stevens, CMA’s president, explained.

"That’s human cloning. That’s the exact same cloning process that produced Dolly the sheep. And when Dolly was cloned, an overwhelming majority of Americans and legislators vowed that cloning would never be used on human beings," Stevens added.

Stevens said human life should not be created and destroyed, even to benefit others.

Meanwhile, the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity, headquartered in Illinois, is also opposed to the bill.

According to the Center, the bill admits that embryonic stem cell research "raises significant ethical and policy concerns," yet it seeks to legalize and fund the research, calling for "full consideration" of the ethical concerns only after the legalization takes place

"As important as medical benefits are, it is extremely dangerous to think that we should put the medical and ethical considerations onto the same scale," says CBHD Director of Clinical Ethics, Robert Orr, MD.

"Ethics provides protections limits beyond which science and medicine must not go. This bill goes far beyond those ethical limits by cloning human beings and subsequently killing them," Dr. Orr added.

Gene Rudd, MD, CMA associate executive director and obstetrician/gynecologist, also said the bill presents a false picture of stem cell research.

"The bill advances the deception that cloning and embryonic stem cell research will cure Alzheimer’s disease. No credible scientist on either side of the debate has suggested that," Dr. Rudd explained.

Pro-life groups such as the Illinois Catholic Conference and Illinois Federation for Right to Life also strongly oppose the legislation (HB 3589)

Related web sites:
Illinois General Assembly –
Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity –
Christian Medical Association –