With so many unborn babies being aborted every year, it can be easy to forget that countless others are being destroyed while they still are embryos.
Pope Francis drew attention to their plight Thursday in a meeting at the Vatican with researchers and families who are suffering from Huntington’s disease.
The pope urged the researchers to continue their work seeking relief and cures for diseases like Huntingdon’s, but he also urged them not to destroy human lives in their attempts to save others’.
Pope Francis told geneticists and scientists that “there is a great deal of expectation” regarding their work, since on it rests the hopes of finding a way to cure the disease, but also of improving the living conditions of those suffering from Huntington’s.
However, he said, finding the cure must be done in a way that doesn’t fuel the “throw-away culture” that at times “infiltrates even the world of scientific research.”
“Some branches of research, in fact, utilize human embryos, inevitably causing their destruction,” the pope said. “But we know that no ends, even noble in themselves, such as a predicted utility for science, for other human beings or for society, can justify the destruction of human embryos.”
The pontiff told the group that all human beings, whether sick or healthy, young or old, are “precious in the eyes of God.”
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Though in the earliest stages of life, embryos are living human beings who have their own unique DNA. Exactly how many are destroyed every year for embryonic stem cell research or in connection to in vitro fertilization (IVF) is unknown.
In 2012, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority in the UK reported 1.7 million embryos have been “thrown away” since 1991 as a result of IVF alone.
It is difficult to find numbers for those destroyed in medical research. In 2009, President Barack Obama lifted a ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, which led to countless human embryos being destroyed and paid for by taxpayer dollars.
Embryonic stem cell research has destroyed many lives, but it has not helped to save any. A MIT Technology Review article basically admitted this in 2016.
According to the report “Will Embryonic Stem Cells Ever Cure Anything?”:
No field of biotechnology has promised more and delivered less in the way of treatments than embryonic stem cells. Only a handful of human studies has ever been carried out, without significant results. The cells, culled from IVF embryos, are capable of developing into any other tissue type in the body, and therefore promise an unlimited supply of replacement tissue.
While life-destroying embryonic stem cell research has not produced any cures, adult stem cell research has – without destroying any human being’s life.
Dr. David Prentice, research director for the Charlotte Lozier Institute, said more than 60,000 people across the world are treated with adult stem cells every year.
“… adult stem cells have a proven record at saving lives and improving health,” Prentice wrote in December, listing advances to repair heart damage, muscles, windpipes and more.
He also expressed hope that the failed embryonic stem cell experiments will encourage more researchers to abandon the unethical practice.