WASHINGTON (January 10, 2006)—Commenting on Seoul National University's final report on the South Korean cloning scandal, which found that a team led by Dr. Woo-Suk Hwang had fabricated two major studies on human cloning, an official of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops called this hoax "the most obvious symptom of a field where ethical concerns were dismissed in the pursuit of alleged miracle cures."
Richard M. Doerflinger, Deputy Director of the USCCB Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities, said this situation offers an opportunity to realize that "good ethics is a necessary and integral part of good science and good medicine."
His statement follows:
"Korean investigators have found two major studies, claiming success in cloning human embryos for their stem cells, to be a complete hoax. Thus after almost a decade of intense effort by teams around the world, it seems no one has been able to take even the first step needed to derive treatments from human cloning. As the Washington Post reported January 10, it also means that 'the highly touted field of embryonic stem cell research is years behind where scientists thought it was.'
"The Korean hoax is the most obvious symptom of a field where ethical concerns were dismissed in the pursuit of alleged miracle cures. Will our society insist on exploiting more hundreds of women, and creating and destroying many more thousands of helpless human lives, in pursuit of this mirage? Or will we step back and realize that good ethics is a necessary and integral part of good science and good medicine?
"Lawmakers can best respond to this scandal by enacting a complete ban on human cloning, as called for by the United Nations, and by increasing government support for stem cell research that is both medically promising and morally sound."