Massachusetts Pro-Life Groups Condemn Harvard University’s Human Cloning

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 8, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Massachusetts Pro-Life Groups Condemn Harvard University’s Human Cloning Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 8, 2006

Boston, MA ( — With much fanfare and celebration, Harvard University announced its new efforts this week to use human cloning to create human embryos for destruction for research. But pro-life advocates in Massachusetts aren’t happy about the news.

Massachusetts Citizens for Life (MCFL) says it supports stem cell research and science that doesn’t involve the destruction of human life. Human cloning and embryonic stem cell research, because it includes the destruction of days-old unborn children, is something the group can’t support.

"We must never forget that embryos are human beings," MCFL director Marie Sturgis told in a statement. "They are precious, valuable lives that must be protected."

"Each one of us was an embryo in our earliest existence and there was never a time when it could have been concluded that we were not living human beings," Sturgis added. "The end can never justify the means."

Meanwhile, Archdiocese of Boston spokesman Terrence Donilon told the Milford Daily News that human cloning is unethical.

"Creating life only to destroy it adds to the offense against human dignity," he said. "The cloning process itself denies a child the right to come into existence with and through a mother and a father, and distorts biological and familial relationships."

Discussing the project, Dr. George Daley of Children’s Hospital in Boston, a member of the research team, said, "Our long-term goal is to create embryonic stem cells from a patient’s tissues, correct the genetic defects, and get the repaired cells back into the patients."

Daley said the scientists would start their project by destroying human embryos from a Harvard fertility clinic. His team has already begun some of the work but declined to discuss what has been done so far.

Scientists in England and at the University of California, San Francisco are also working on a project to clone a human embryo.

The Harvard researchers say they will use private funds for the cloning project because federal taxpayer funds can’t be used to pay for embryonic stem cell research under an August 2001 executive order from President Bush.

The Harvard human cloning effort comes on the heels of an international scandal that saw a South Korean teams’ claims to have cloned human embryos proven false.

The South Korean team, led by disgraced researcher Hwang Woo-suk, claimed in 2004 to have created the first cloned human embryos. Subsequent probes by the nation’s government, a private firm and Seoul National University concluded the claims were falsified.

The scientific journal Nature, which published a paper Hwang’s team wrote on its supposed cloning work, revoked the paper and said it was not authentic.

Polls show Americans oppose human cloning — for either reproductive or research purposes.

A May poll conducted by International Communications Research found 83 percent said they oppose human cloning to provide children for infertile couples and another 81 percent oppose it to produce human embryos who would be destroyed in medical research.

Opposition to human cloning has risen as the last ICR polls have shown a high of 77 percent of Americans opposing the practice.