Scientists Claim They Have Cloned Human Embryos for Stem Cells

Bioethics   Steven Ertelt   May 15, 2013   |   1:25PM    Washington, DC

Researchers in Oregon claimed they have succeeded in producing cloned human embryos and obtained their embryonic stem cells.

They have engaged in the grisly research with the goal of producing genetically matched stem cells for research and possible therapies — even though embryonic stem cells have never helped human patients and cause tumors when injected.

The Oregon Health & Science University  scientists published today a paper in the online journal Cell reporting on the use of cloning techniques to produce human embryos, 21 of whom they were able to sustain to the point in development at which stem cells were present, after which the human embryos were killed and the stem cells harvested.

Leading pro-life advocates quickly condemned the clone and kill methods that destroyed unique human beings.

“These researchers created many human embryos, male and female, and allowed them to grow for up to seven days, for the sole purpose of killing them and harvesting their stem cells,” said NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson. “We will certainly continue to oppose attempts in Congress to provide federal funds to create human embryos for the purpose of harvesting their cells — which is a step towards human embryo farms.”

Johnson said current federal law (the Dickey-Wicker Amendment) prohibits the use of federal funds to create human embryos. Bills to authorize the use of federal funds for such purposes have been proposed in Congress in the past.

The chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops also condemned the cloning and said human cloning for any purpose is inconsistent with the moral responsibility to “treat each member of the human family as a unique gift of God, as a person with his or her own inherent dignity.”

“Creating new human lives in the laboratory solely to destroy them is an abuse denounced even by many who do not share the Catholic Church’s convictions on human life,” said Cardinal Se√°n O’Malley, OFM Cap., of Boston.

He said this way of making embryos will also be taken up by people who want to produce cloned children as “copies” of other people.”Whether used for one purpose or the other, human cloning treats human beings as products, manufactured to order to suit other people’s wishes.” He added, “A technical advance in human cloning is not progress for humanity but its opposite.”

He added that the researcher’s goal of producing genetically matched stem cells for research and possible therapies is already being addressed by scientific advances that do not pose the same more problems.

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He said: “The news that researchers have developed a technique for human cloning is deeply troubling on many levels. Over 120 human embryos were created and destroyed, to produce six embryonic stem cell lines. Creating the embryos involved subjecting healthy women to procedures that put their health and fertility at risk. And the researchers’ alleged goal, producing genetically matched stem cells for research and possible therapies, is already being addressed by scientific advances that do not pose these grave moral wrongs.”

The Catholic leader concluded: “Creating new human lives in the laboratory solely to destroy them is an abuse denounced even by many who do not share the Catholic Church’s convictions on human life. Also, this means of making embryos for research will be taken up by those who want to produce cloned children as “copies” of other people. Whether used for one purpose or the other, human cloning treats human beings as products, manufactured to order to suit other people’s wishes. It is inconsistent with our moral responsibility to treat each member of the human family as a unique gift of God, as a person with his or her own inherent dignity. A technical advance in human cloning is not progress for humanity but its opposite.”