Pro-Life Groups Hopeful About Potential of Amniotic Fluid Stem Cells

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 9, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Groups Hopeful About Potential of Amniotic Fluid Stem Cells

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
January 9
, 2007

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Responding to news that scientists have been able to successfully manipulate stem cells found in the amniotic fluid of pregnant women, pro-life groups are hopeful that it will help reduce the insistence that taxpayers fund embryonic stem cell research.

Researchers at Wake Forest University found the cells have some properties of embryonic stem cells and have the potential to grow into brain, muscle and other tissues without the resulting threat of tumors.

Pro-life groups say the advance is one more proof that human beings do not need to be destroyed in order to find medical cures.

"This latest research on amniotic cells is further evidence that we don’t need to kill one life in order to save another," Wendy Wright, the president of Concerned Women for America, said in a statement LifeNews.com obtained.

"Amniotic cells are proven to be as effective as embryonic stem cells, without posing embryonic stem cells’ ethical dilemmas or threatening risks to patients of causing tumors," she explained. "Scientific research proves that the moral choice is also the healthiest and most effective way to find cures.”

Meanwhile, Douglas Johnson of the National Right to Life Committee said his group hopes members of the House of Representatives will keep the new study in mind as they vote on a measure forcing taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research. The vote on the bill, HR 3, is expected on Thursday.

"We applaud the work of those researchers who continue to look for ethical stem cell research alternatives that do not require destroying human life, and we call on Congress to support such ethical alternatives," he said.

"The government should not fund research that requires killing [human beings]," Johnson said.

CWA’s Wright agreed, adding, “We hope the 110th Congress will begin by voting down a dangerous bill that forces Americans to pay for experiments that destroy the most vulnerable human lives."

Meanwhile, the Vatican’s leading health official expressed hope that stem cells would be able to be obtained from amniotic fluid and provide a pro-life source of cells for research.

Mexican Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, told Vatican Radio there is no problem with it as long as the mother and baby aren’t harmed in gathering the stem cells.

The research Lozano told the Italian newspaper La Stampa, "is a discovery for which we can rejoice. I congratulate the researchers who have demonstrated how it is possible to make medical progress without damaging embryos."

There are many types of stem cell research that are worthwhile and that do not raise ethical objections. In addition to this new revelation, stem cells can be obtained without killing human embryos, from umbilical cord blood and from many types of "adult" (non-embryonic) tissue.

Already, humans with at least 72 different diseases and conditions have received therapeutic benefit from treatment with such "adult" stem cells. In contrast, embryonic stem cells have not been tested in humans for any purpose because of the dangers demonstrated in animal studies, including frequent formation of tumors.