WASHINGTON (July 11, 2001) -- An official of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops reacted today (July 11) to reports that the Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine in Norfolk, Virginia has created over a hundred embryos from donated sperm and eggs solely to obtain stem cells for research. Richard M. Doerflinger, Associate Director for Policy Development at the USCCB's Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities, said this development shows the need for the Bush Administration to "step back from the brink" of funding any research involving human embryo destruction.
His text follows:
"It is disturbing news that researchers at the Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine have created more than a hundred human embryos solely to kill them for their stem cells.
"Those who have become accustomed to destroying 'spare' embryos for research now think nothing of taking the next horrible step – creating human life for the purpose of destroying it. This grotesque practice is now supported only by private funds. If the government begins funding destructive embryo research, the same numbing of consciences will surely happen on a wider scale.
"The Jones Institute is affiliated with an organization belonging to the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research, and published its results in that organization's journal. Yet that Coalition now claims that the only way to set ethical limits and stop the Jones Institute's abuses is to provide tax dollars for research using 'spare' embryos. In effect the Coalition is saying: We won't stop ourselves from creating embryos for destruction unless the government pays us to destroy other embryos.
"The fact is, federal funding for destructive embryo research is barred now. Releasing such funds for some unethical research is no way to prevent even more unethical research.
"Once we learn to destroy human life for research, there are no depths to which we may not sink in the pursuit of knowledge. The Bush Administration should step back from the brink, and support adult stem cell research and other alternatives that everybody can live with."