USCCB News Release
April 30, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Cardinal Rigali Welcomes Proposed Human/Animal Hybrid Ban
WASHINGTON—Commenting on the introduction in Congress of a "Human-Animal Hybrid Prohibition Act," Cardinal Justin Rigali, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, today welcomed the legislation as "an opportunity to rein in an egregious and disturbing misuse of technology to undermine human dignity."
The Human-Animal Hybrid Prohibition Act (H.R. 5910) was introduced in the House on April 24 by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ). Identical legislation, S. 2358, was introduced in the Senate last fall by Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS).
Cardinal Rigali's statement follows:
"I commend Senator Brownback and Representative Smith for their leadership in seeking to prohibit the creation of human-animal hybrids. Their legislation offers an opportunity to rein in an egregious and disturbing misuse of technology to undermine human dignity.
"While this subject may seem like science fiction to many, the threat is all too real. The United Kingdom is preparing to authorize the production of cloned human embryos using human DNA and animal eggs, setting the stage for the creation of embryos that are half-human and half-animal. Researchers in New York have boasted of implanting 'mouse/human embryonic chimeras' into female mice, and California scientists say they may produce a mouse whose brain is entirely made up of human brain cells.
"The alleged promise of embryonic stem cells has already been used in attempts to justify destroying human embryos, and even to justify creating them solely for destructive research. Now, the same utilitarian argument is being used to justify an especially troubling form of
genetic manipulation, to create partly human creatures as mere objects for research or commercial use. Nothing more radically undermines human dignity than a project that can make it impossible to determine what is human and what is not.
"I encourage members of all parties to co-sponsor this legislation and bring it to swift approval in Congress, while there is still time for sound ethics and policy to place some restraints on the misuse of science."
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