WASHINGTON (December 1, 1999) -- Stem cell research guidelines issued by the NIH today erode respect for human life, said Richard Doerflinger, an associate director of the U.S. bishops Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities, December 1. His comments follow.
Yesterday President Clinton signed legislation reaffirming that the federal government must not fund research in which human embryos are harmed or destroyed. Today his Administration gave researchers detailed instructions on how to evade that law.
The draft guidelines by the National Institutes of Health authorize use of taxpayer funds for research on stem cells obtained by destroying live human embryos. They instruct researchers in how to obtain embryos for destruction, how to select which embryos will be killed for their cells, and how to document their destructive activities in order to receive the reward of a federal research grant. As the President's National Bioethics Advisory Commission has recognized, to deny that such a proposal deeply involves the federal government in destructive embryo research is an act of hypocrisy.
We urge Americans concerned about this further erosion of respect for human life to express their views to the NIH, and to their elected representatives during the 60-day comment period allotted for these guidelines. For our part, we will work with Congress to ensure that the NIH's cynical effort to evade the law does not prevail.