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Monday, October 22, 2007

Pope Supports Therapeutic Cloning???

No, this is not a joke headline. TIME Magazine ran a story this morning every stem cell research supporter must read.




Listen to this, quoting from the article "Pope Scolds S. Korea on Stem Cells", by AP/Nicole Winfield, Friday, October 12, 2007. The article begins by criticizing embryonic stem cell research, and then-the lightning bolt. (Pope) "Benedict noted that the Vatican does not oppose-and in fact encourages-somatic stem cell research-also known as "therapeutic cloning", which uses human eggs specifically for research from which stem cells are harvested. "The Vatican approves of such research because it doesn't involve obtaining a fertilized egg or embryo to harvest the stem cells. The Vatican holds that life begins at conception." The Pope supports therapeutic cloning? Folks, either TIME Magazine (and the Associated Press) ran a colossal misstatement, or we just had a gigantic breakthrough. The Catholic Church, until now, has been the single largest opponent of SCNT. In Missouri, for example, bishops thundered from the pulpit denouncing therapeutic cloning, claiming to see no difference between the cloning of cells and the cloning of people. Every Catholic in Missouri should be glad to know the Pope does not want them to support the movement to overthrow Amendment 2, which allows SCNT. If this article is accurate, the single largest obstacle to Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer has just been removed. If this is correct, then opponents of SCNT research like Catholic Senator Sam Brownback are in contradiction with the Pope. Presidential candidate Brownback is of course famous for his bill, the Human Cloning Prohibition Act, (supported by President Bush) which would mandate ten year jail sentences and million dollar fines for anyone connected with SCNT. This joyous news must be spread across the land. Please write your local paper, and your political leadership. If TIME Magazine is right, and this is a source famous for its accuracy, the world has just changed. The facts cited are correct: "therapeutic cloning. doesn't involve obtaining a fertilized egg or embryo to harvest the stem cells." This is absolutely right-SCNT involves no sperm whatsoever, and therefore there is no fertilized egg, and accordingly no embryo. Therefore, the Dickey Amendment, until now used to block federal funding of SCNT, does not apply. The Dickey Amendment prohibits the endangerment of an embryo. But read these words again-- "The Vatican approves of such research because it doesn't involve obtaining a fertilized egg or embryo (emphasis added-DR) to harvest the stem cells." The product of SCNT is not an embryo. We have it from the mouth of the Pope.


Don Reed



Rayilyn Brown

Board Member AZNPF

Arizona Chapter National Parkinson's Foundation

3 comments:

Dark said...

Somatic Stem cell research and Somatic cell nuclear transfer are not the same thing. so apparently the Pope has not consented to SCNT as reported.

SCNT is the act of fusing a somatic cell with an enucleated egg to generate ESC.

Anonymous said...

Does ANYONE think this report is correct? It's a mistake folks. Neither the Church, nor the Pope changes its position on such fundamental moral issues. Just wait and see.

Anonymous said...

Correction: Pope-SKorea stem cells story
10/12/2007, 6:04 p.m. EDT
The Associated Press

VATICAN CITY (AP) — In an Oct. 11 story about papal reaction to embryonic stem cell research in South Korea, The Associated Press erroneously described a type of stem-cell research supported by Pope Benedict XVI. Benedict said he supported and encouraged "somatic stem-cell research," also known as adult stem-cell research, which involves stem cells that are not derived from embryos. The pope did not say he supported somatic cell nuclear transfer, also known as "therapeutic cloning," which uses human eggs specifically for research from which stem cells are harvested. The Vatican opposes such research.