Justin Cardinal Rigali shoots straight from the hip. When Doug Kmiec published a column entitled “New ethically sensitive stem-cell guidance from the Obama administration,” the Cardinal replied with a column of his own . It began:
On April 17 the National Institutes of Health released new draft guidelines for federally funded embryonic stem-cell research. Federal tax dollars will now be used, for the first time, to encourage the destruction of innocent human beings for their stem cells.
Law professor Douglas Kmiec states in an opinion piece distributed by Catholic News Service that the new policy is ethically sensitive and in important respects more strict than President George W. Bushs policy that preceded it.
The truth is the opposite.
The policy issued by Bush in August 2001 allowed the federal government to fund research using embryonic stem cells only if the embryos had already been destroyed for these cells before the date of his policy announcement. Thus no researcher could destroy embryos in the future to qualify for federal stem-cell grants.
The new NIH guidelines are more sweeping, encouraging the destruction of new embryos, including those not yet conceived. While Kmiec says embryos will be donated using a strict process by which the parents give consent, that is surely broader than not allowing them to be donated for destruction at all.
Kmiec says the new guidelines are limited to embryos created for fertility treatment that would have been discarded if not devoted to medical research.
That is also not true.
Parents will be invited to consider donating their embryonic sons or daughters for research at the same time that they are considering whether to save them for their own later reproduction or donate them so another couple can have a baby. The new guidelines will encourage destruction of some embryonic human beings who could otherwise have lived and grown up to adulthood.
In key respects, these guidelines are broader than any proposed in the past for destructive embryonic stem-cell research by any president or Congress.
(via American Papist )
We launched the First Things 2023 Year-End Campaign to keep articles like the one you just read free of charge to everyone.
Measured in dollars and cents, this doesn't make sense. But consider who is able to read First Things: pastors and priests, college students and professors, young professionals and families. Last year, we had more than three million unique readers on firstthings.com.
Informing and inspiring these people is why First Things doesn't only think in terms of dollars and cents. And it's why we urgently need your year-end support.
Will you give today?