Catholic Church Condemns South Korea Human Cloning Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 24, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 24, 2005

The Vatican ( — The Catholic Church has condemned research in South Korea where scientists cloned human embryos in order to destroy them for their stem cells. British research also announced they cloned a human embryo as well.

A leading Vatican official described the actions as crimes and an affront to true science.

"The suppression of a human being can merit only one judgment: it is unacceptable," the Italian prelate said. "To destroy one life in order to save another remains an aberration."

Monsignor Elio Sgreccia who heads the Pontifical Academy for Life, says human rights are being violated when human beings are cloned and killed. He said the experiments were motivated by a desire to create "a being that is taken advantage of, because it is then killed."

Sgreccia said the process was "killing, exploiting and maybe even commercializing the product."

The Catholic official called for "an increasingly robust conscience" in government and scientific communities to call into question such research and hold scientists accountable.

Sgreccia says he sees "no new motivations" for the experiments and said scientists are wrongly looking at financial incentives rather than moral questions.

Sgreccia also reminded the press that scientists have demonstrated their ability to use stem cells taken from more ethical sources such as umbilical cord blood or bone marrow.

The Korean scientists announced that they had produced 31 embryos, direct clones of 11 living persons, in their laboratories. These human embryos were produced using a technique similar to that used by the scientists who produced the lamb named Dolly, the first cloned mammal.

However, hundreds of sheep embryos died in the process of creating Dolly, who ultimately had to be euthanized because of deformities. The Vatican and pro-life groups worry hundreds, if not thousands, of human lives will be taken as scientists attempt to clone more humans.

Related web sites:
Pontifical Academy for Life –