Catholic bishops urge governor to refrain from expanding research on human embryos

The Roman Catholic Bishops in Massachusetts released the following statement April 3, responding to the March 30 remarks of Gov. Deval Patrick indicating his support for expanding destructive research on human embryos in Massachusetts:

The governor of Massachusetts announced recently his commitment to encouraging Massachusetts scientists, possibly with the use of public funds, to create human life in the laboratory, and then to destroy the embryos for “humanitarian” research purposes. He characterized objections to this research as “ideological politics” and stated that “I want science to prevail.”

The governor minimizes the profound moral concerns at stake and attributes to science the exclusive authority to determine right and wrong. History has demonstrated that science must be governed by ethical principles rooted in the fundamental values of human dignity and sanctity of human life or it will become the engine of great destruction. Destroying human life is never humanitarian. Nor is the taking of human life necessary in the fight to find cures. Research and therapies using placental and adult stem cells continue to meet with great success without ethical cost. This is the direction that the “life sciences” should pursue.

We oppose the expansion of, and the use of taxpayer money for, any research that destroys human life. The use of public funding for unethical research that has not produced a single clinical benefit is a misuse of public monies. We call on the governor to refrain from promoting any such policies as they are utterly inconsistent with good science and human dignity.

We encourage the governor to support stem-cell research which respects the innate dignity of human life. Remarkable achievements have been attained by using ethical sources of stem cells, including umbilical cord blood, placental tissue and adult cells. We support stem-cell research that does not endanger human life, is carried out in an ethical manner, and has been demonstrated to be effective.

Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley OFM Cap. rchdiocese of Boston

Bishop George W. Coleman

Diocese of Fall River

Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell

Diocese of Springfield

Bishop Robert J. McManus

Diocese of Worcester