Top Catholic Official Urges Obama to Back Adult Stem Cell Research, Not Embryonic
by Steven Ertelt
November 11, 2008
The Vatican (LifeNews.com) — A top Catholic Church official is urging incoming president Barack Obama to back the use of adult stem cells instead of forcing taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research. Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan says adult stem cells have already helped patients while embryonic ones have problems.
The Catholic Church has long opposed the use of embryonic stem cells because obtaining them requires the destruction of human life days after conception.
However, Cardinal Barragan said efficacy issues should also prompt Obama to back down from his pledge to make Americans pay for the destructive research with public funds.
He said embryonic stem cells "served no purpose with no health cure to date" because of problems with using them in animal studies. The cells have formed tumors and been rejected by immune systems — making it so they have never been tried in humans.
On the other hand, Cardinal Barragan said adult stem cells have "positive value" because they have already been used to treat people with dozens of conditions and diseases.
"So far, embryonic stem cells are of no use, and there has been no cure. The cells that instead have a positive value are umbilical cord and adult stem cells," Barragan, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Health Care Workers, said in the remarks at a Vatican news conference.
As LifeNews.com previously reported, members of Obama’s team confirmed over the weekend that the incoming president will immediately overturn executive orders President Bush put in place on the pro-life issue.
Put in place in August 2001, the policy prevents taxpayers from paying for new embryonic research that involves the destruction of human life. Bush directed most of the public funding for the science to adult stem cells, which are more ethical and have proven more effective than their embryonic counterparts.
The Washington Post indicates Rep. Diana DeGette, a Colorado Democrat who has been one of the primary members of Congress pushing for embryonic stem cell research funding, prodded Obama during the campaign to make it a priority.
She told the newspaper that supporters of funding the destructive and unproven research have already drafted language for an executive order that Obama can use.
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