Catholic Bioethics transmitted by the Magisterial teachings of the Holy Catholic Church safeguard humanity from the callous onslaught against life by the enemies of God, Life and Marriage. Catholic scientific and medical research should promote “respect for the dignity of each human being from conception until natural death by helping those involved in health care to understand how the moral teachings of the Church apply to developments in health care and the life sciences.” Exponential developments in genetics, physic, nanotechnology and biochemistry have superseded the moral constraints necessary for these disciplines to enhance the true dignity and well being of mankind and each individual human being. Those rights derived and conferred by Almighty God on His children!
I SWEAR in the presence of the Almighty and before my family, my teachers and my peers that according to my ability and judgment I will keep this Oath and Stipulation. TO RECKON all who have taught me this art equally dear to me as my parents and in the same spirit and dedication to impart a knowledge of the art of medicine to others. I will continue with diligence to keep abreast of advances in medicine. I will treat without exception all who seek my ministrations, so long as the treatment of others is not compromised thereby, and I will seek the counsel of particularly skilled physicians where indicated for the benefit of my patient. I WILL FOLLOW that method of treatment which according to my ability and judgment, I consider for the benefit of my patient and abstain from whatever is harmful or mischievous.
I will neither prescribe nor administer a lethal dose of medicine to any patient even if asked nor counsel any such thing nor perform the utmost respect for every human life from fertilization to natural death and reject abortion that deliberately takes a unique human life.
WITH PURITY, HOLINESS AND BENEFICENCE I will pass my life and practice my art. Except for the prudent correction of an imminent danger, I will neither treat any patient nor carry out any research on any human being without the valid informed consent of the subject or the appropriate legal protector thereof, understanding that research must have as its purpose the furtherance of the health of that individual. Into whatever patient setting I enter, I will go for the benefit of the sick and will abstain from every voluntary act of mischief or corruption and further from the seduction of any patient.
WHATEVER IN CONNECTION with my professional practice or not in connection with it I may see or hear in the lives of my patients which ought not be spoken abroad, I will not divulge, reckoning that all such should be kept secret. WHILE I CONTINUE to keep this Oath unviolated may it be granted to me to enjoy life and the practice of the art and science of medicine with the blessing of the Almighty and respected by my peers and society, but should I trespass and violate this Oath, may the reverse by my lot.
Children of God forLife
2130 Catalina Drive
Clearwater, Florida 33764
THE DARK HISTORY
For over thirty years pharmaceutical companies in this country have been producing vaccines derived from tissues of aborted fetuses, a fact that was brought to light when several prominent Catholic newspapers published articles on the morality of using the vaccines. The trouble began when a new law in St. Louis County, Mo. required food handlers to obtain the Hepatitis-A vaccine for employment. When the source of the vaccine was revealed, many principled individuals objected and with good reason. And as this information has continued to become more and more public, a large number of physicians and parents are highly troubled by the ethical issues involved.
During the Rubella epidemic of 1964, some doctors advised exposed pregnant women to abort their children. The resulting virus strain developed was known in the science world as RA/27/3, where R=Rubella, A=Abortus, 27=27th fetus tested, 3=third tissue explant. There were actually 26 abortions prior to finding the right “species” with the active virus. The vaccine was then cultivated on the lung tissue of yet another aborted infant, WI-38. WI-38 (Wistar Institute 38) was taken from the lung tissue of an aborted female infant at 3 months gestation in the 1960s. A second human cell line, MRC-5 was derived from a male at 14 weeks gestation in the 1970s. They were used to cultivate the weakened virus strains of several diseases to produce immunizations. These two human cell lines cultivated in the lab continue to provide an ongoing source for many widely used vaccines.
NO OTHER SOURCE
Three of the vaccines were produced solely from abortion and to date, there is no other source available to treat their diseases.
The vaccines are:
- CHICKEN POX
- HEPATITIS – A
Following is the information on each vaccine, its clinical name and the pharmaceutical company producing them.
Uses both MRC-5 and WI-38 human cell lines and is produced by Merck & Co.
HEPATITIS-A: “HAVRIX”, “VAQTA”
Uses MRC-5 human cell lines and is produced by SmithKline Beecham and Merck & Co.
HEPATITIS A-B: “TWINRIX”
New combo vaccine uses MRC-5 human cell lines and is produced by SmithKline Beecham
(NOTE: Hepatitis-B alone is NOT “tainted.”)
RUBELLA: MERUVAX, MMR
Uses WI-38 human cell lines and is produced by Merck & Co.NOTE: MMR PROVIDES SIMULTANEOUS VACCINATION FOR MEASLES-MUMPS-RUBELLA. ANY VACCINE WHICH COMBINES WITH RUBELLA, IE, RUBELLA-MUMPS, (BIAVAX) RUBELLA-MEASLES (MR-VAX) USES THE SAME ABORTED FETAL CELLS. MERUVAX IMMUNIZES FOR RUBELLA ONLY.
OTHER “TAINTED” VACCINES
There are some vaccines that have been manufactured from these same aborted fetal cell lines, (MRC-5 and WI-38), however there are also alternative sources used in their production that do not come from abortion. Following is the information on each vaccine, its clinical name, the alternative “untainted” source and the pharmaceuticals producing them.
“TAINTED” VACCINES (continued)
Merck & Co.: Uses the cell cultures of a chicken embryo.
Merck & Co: Uses the cell cultures of a chicken embryo.
Aventis-Pasteur: Uses MRC-5 human cell line.
Aventis-Pasteur: Uses monkey kidney cells.
ORIMUNE (Oral Dosage – Untainted)
Aventis-Pasteur: Uses monkey kidney cells.
Aventis-Pasteur/Connaught: Uses MRC-5 human cell line.
Chiron Inc.: Uses chick embryo.
1-800 244-7668 (Pacific Time)
Your doctor can order these untainted versions in single doses by calling the 800 numbers above.
NOTE: As new vaccines are being developed Children of God for Life will monitor their production. If the vaccine you are questioning is not listed here, as of the release date listed below, it is not derived from aborted fetal tissue. As the new smallpox vaccines become available, we will update you with the name of both the tainted and untainted versions, which will be produced by both Acambis and Acambis-Baxter.
New Vaccines Under Development
HIV: (No clinical name assigned yet)
Under development by Merck & Co. using aborted fetal cell line PER C6.
Ebola: (No clinical name assigned yet)
Research by the National Institutes of Health and Crucell NV using aborted fetal cell line PER C6
Acambis 1000 (TAINTED MRC-5)
54 million doses to be manufactured
Dynport (TAINTED MRC-5) For military use.
Acambis 2000 (UNTAINTED Vero Cell line)
(155 million doses to be manufactured)
MedImmune Inc.Version (TAINTED PER C6)
(Note: Current flu vaccines made by Aventis Pasteur and Wyeth Ayerest do not use aborted fetal tissue.)
Many ethicists have tried to justify the use of vaccines derived from aborted fetal tissue when there are no alternatives available. They make a legitimate argument that we have a moral obligation to protect our children and society from life threatening diseases.
Those opposed to abortion, find the use of these vaccines morally objectionable. The aborted child has already had his/ her human dignity severely violated. The callous practice of using these babies’ tissue amounts to further violation of the dignity of the unborn person. Some think using such vaccines constitutes complicity in the evil of abortion; others argue that it is morally permissible in the absence of alternatives. Still others argue, “Well, the abortions were performed over 30 years ago, so what’s the big deal?”
In our culture, unfortunately it is a big deal, because researchers are still exploiting aborted fetuses and are lobbying to create embryos strictly for the purposes of research. They use the existence of vaccines from aborted fetuses to justify their proposals. At the Senate subcommittee hearings held April 26, 2000 on Embryonic Stem Cell Research, Senator Harry Reid compared the use of future products taken from destroyed human embryos to the benefits of the Polio vaccine. The University of Nebraska used the same argument in defending its’ experiments on fetal tissue “donated” from abortion facilities. But perhaps most disturbing was President Bush’s use of these vaccines to justify his decision on funding embryonic stem cell research in August 2001. He compared the use of these destroyed human embryos to the development of the chickenpox vaccine.
If we accept the status quo now, what argument against further research and products in the future could be legitimately argued? It is certain that scientists and pharmaceutical companies will pursue an avenue of research they perceive to be perfectly acceptable to the public. We have a moral responsibility to promote, request and use those vaccines that do offer alternatives
And remember the Rubella epidemic mentioned on the previous page? Scientists did not have to use aborted fetuses in order to isolate the Rubella virus for creating a vaccine. They could have done exactly what the Japanese did: they swabbed the throat of an infected child and grew the virus on non-fetal cell lines, producing a vaccine that unfortunately, is not currently available in the United States. There is no doubt that American scientists wanted to use fetal tissue and this simply gave them the opportunity and excuse to do so. The same holds true for those who are pursuing embryonic stem cell research: there are alternatives and they should be utilized.
Unless all our actions show respect for human life, we will be less able to oppose the actions of those who discount the inviolable dignity of embryonic and fetal life. The most important fact is that vaccines can and must be made from sources other than tissues from aborted fetuses. We proved it with our smallpox campaign in November 2001 by demanding an untainted alternative – and we got it! Had we remained silent, millions of Americans would be forced to use a life and death vaccine, grown on the MRC-5 aborted fetal cell lines. Perhaps then, the real complicity lies not in whether we choose to use these vaccines, but rather that we do nothing about them.
The Campaign for Ethical Vaccines
Is Now On-Line!
Sign our petition as we demand that our pharmaceutical manufacturers produce safe, effective vaccine alternatives that are not derived from aborted fetal tissue. For more information, visit our website:
Or write to us at:
Children of God for Life
2130 Catalina Drive
Clearwater, Florida 33764
Produced by Children of God for Life
With Grateful Acknowledgement For The Assistance of Dr. Janet Smith, PhD, University of Dallas
– Copying Permissible –
Sound Choice Pharmaceutical Institute: www.soundchoice.org
Children of God for Life: www.cogforlife.org
Fertilty Care Centers of America comprehensive and effective natural system of fertility regulation that also monitors and maintains a woman’s reproductive health.
AAPLOG – American Association of Pro Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists
THE MYTHS VS THE FACTS!
MYTH NO. 1
THERE IS A BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THERAPEUTIC AND REPRODUCTIVE CLONING
FACT: THE DISTINCTION BEING MADE BETWEEN SO CALLED “THERAPEUTIC” CLONING AND REPRODUCTIVE CLONING IS COMPLETELY FALSE. IN BOTH CASES, THEY RESULT IN THE REPRODUCTION OF A NEW LIVING HUMAN BEING – AN EMBRYO. THE ONLY REAL DIFFERENCE IS HOW THEY ARE BEING USED AFTER THEY ARE PRODUCED. REPRODUCTIVE CLONING MEANS THE NEW EMBRYO IS REPRODUCED, IMPLANTED IN THE WOMB AND BROUGHT TO FULL TERM. THERAPEUTIC CLONING MEANS THE NEW EMBRYO IS REPRODUCED AND THEN INTENTIONALLY KILLED FOR HIS OR HER STEM CELLS.
MYTH NO. 2
THERAPEUTIC CLONING DOES NOT USE A REAL EMBRYO – IT IS ONLY A BUNCH OF STEM CELLS, AN UNFERTILIZED EGG, A “PRE-EMBRYO”.
FACT: THERAPEUTIC CLONING DOES USE A REAL EMBRYO! ALL REPRODUCTION BEGINS WITH AN UNFERTILIZED EGG AND PRODUCES A NEW LIVING HUMAN BEING, WHETHER THAT IS DONE IN NATURAL REPRODUCTION, IN-VITRO FERTILIZATION REPRODUCTION OR CLONING. (PHOTOS OF EMBRYONIC DEVELOPMENT) TO SAY THAT THESE NEWLY FORMED EMBRYOS ARE ONLY A BUNCH OF CELLS DENIES THE SCIENTIFIC FACT THAT A NEW HUMAN LIFE BEGINS AT FERTILIZATION. FURTHER, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A “PRE-EMBRYO” (SEE EMBRYOLOGY TEXT QUOTES BELOW)
MYTH NO. 3
THERAPEUTIC CLONING INVOLVES A DIFFERENT SCIENCE CALLED SOMATIC CELL NUCLEAR TRANSFER (SCNT) TO CREATE CELLS, TISSUES OR ORGANS – NOT AN EMBRYO!
FACT: THERAPEUTIC CLONING DOES NOT INVOLVE A DIFFERENT SCIENCE! BOTH THERAPEUTIC AND REPRODUCTIVE CLONING USES SCNT, WHICH IS ONLY ONE OF MANY CLONING TECHNIQUES, EACH OF WHICH REPRODUCE A NEW HUMAN BEING. IN FACT, SCNT IS THE EXACT METHOD USED TO PRODUCE DOLLY THE SHEEP. THE ONLY DIFFERENCE HERE IS THAT RATHER THAN IMPLANTING THE EMBRYO INTO A WOMB, ONE WOULD HARVEST THOSE CELLS, TISSUES OR ORGANS AT EITHER THE EMBRYONIC OR FETAL STAGE, WHICH OF COURSE DESTROYS THE BABY IN THE PROCESS.
MYTH NO. 4
ONLY REPRODUCTIVE CLONING REPRODUCES A HUMAN BEING BECAUSE A HUMAN EMBRYO DOES NOT BEGIN UNTIL IMPLANTATION IN THE WOMB.
FACT: NEW LIVING HUMAN EMBRYOS ARE IMMEDIATELY REPRODUCED IN BOTH THERAPEUTIC AND REPRODUCTIVE CLONING. IMPLANTATION SIMPLY ALLOWS THESE ALREADY EXISTING HUMANS TO GROW BIGGER AND BE EITHER BORN OR HARVESTED FOR ORGANS AND BODY PARTS. THE LIE THAT “LIFE BEGINS AT IMPLANTATION” IS AN OLD ONE – USED BY THOSE WHO ALSO SUPPORT CONTRACEPTION, RU-486 AND THE MORNING-AFTER PILL.
MYTH NO. 5
“THERAPEUTIC CLONING-ONLY” LAWS WOULD PREVENT HUMAN BEINGS FROM BEING BROUGHT TO FULL TERM.
FACT: ONCE THE EMBRYO IS PRODUCED IN THE LAB, IT IS INEVITABLE THAT IMPLANTATION WILL BE ATTEMPTED. SUCH LAWS WOULD THEN HAVE TO LEGALLY REQUIRE ABORTIONS TO BE PERFORMED IN ORDER TO PREVENT THE CHILD FROM BEING BORN. THESE NEW ABORTION LAWS WOULD CONVENIENTLY ALLOW THE DEVELOPMENT OF INFANTS UP TO VARIOUS STAGES OF GESTATION IN ORDER TO HARVEST SPECIFIC ORGANS AND TISSUES.
MYTH NO. 6
THERAPEUTIC CLONING CAN HELP TREAT MAJOR DISEASES AND SAVE LIVES.
FACT: THERAPEUTIC CLONING IS NOTHING MORE THAN A WAY TO BYPASS BUSH’S LAW GOVERNING LIMITED FEDERAL FUNDING OF EMBRYONIC STEM CELL RESEARCH. FURTHERMORE, TO DATE THERE HAS NOT BEEN ONE SINGLE CURE USING EMBRYONIC STEM CELLS – THE TRUE PROGRESS IS BEING MADE WITH ADULT STEM CELLS!
MYTH NO. 7
THE CURRENT BILLS PENDING TO BAN BOTH REPRODUCTIVE AND THERAPEUTIC CLONING WILL PREVENT THE CREATION OF HUMAN
EMBRYOS THAT COULD BE BROUGHT TO FULL TERM OR USED FOR RESEARCH.
FACT: THERE IS NOT ONE FEDERAL OR STATE BILL THAT ACTUALLY BANS CLONING AT ALL. THE BILLS DO NOT DEFINE CLONING PROPERLY, DO NOT DEFINE SOMATIC CELL NUCLEAR TRANSFER (SCNT) PROPERLY, NOR DO THEY INCLUDE SEVERAL OTHER METHODS OF CLONING, SUCH AS TWINNING, BLASTOCYST SPLITTING, PRO-NUCLEI TRANSFER OR GERM CELL LINE TRANSFER. WHATEVER IS INCORRECT OR MISSING IN A BILL, THE BILL DOES NOT APPLY TO IT. THAT IS, THE BILL WOULD ALLOW IT! NOR WOULD IT BE CONSIDERED UNDER THE CONDITIONS OR PENALTIES FOR VIOLATING THE LAW. WRITE TO YOUR CONGRESSMEN AND SENATORS! REVIEW THE PROBLEMS WITH THE BROWNBACK/WELDON SB245 FEDERAL BILL, PURPORTED TO BAN ALL CLONING.
– GET THE FACTS – UNDERSTAND THE TRUTH-
IN-VITRO FERTILIZATION AND CLONING – STEP-BY-STEP-IN PICTURES!
TO ORDER FREE BROCHURES
GO TO: http://www.cogforlife.org
SAMPLES OF SOME OF THE OTHER TYPES OF CLONING – ALL OF WHICH CAN BE USED TO EITHER ASEXUALLY PRODUCE A CHILD OR TO HARVEST STEM CELLS, TISSUES AND ORGANS BY DESTROYING THE EMBRYO.
GERM LINE CELL NUCLEAR TRANSFER
There are two different kinds of cells in the human body: somatic cells and germ line cells. “Somatic cells” are the “body” cells; “germ line cells” are the reproductive cells. Both cells are diploid (“46″ chromosomes”) until maturity, and thus can be cloned by nuclear transfer. Therefore there are two kinds of nuclear transfer cloning techniques: (1) somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) as discussed above, and (2) germ line cell nuclear transfer (GLCNT). Just as in SCNT, in GLCNT the diploid nucleus of the germ line cell is transferred to an enucleated oocyte (“egg”) and the cell is stimulated chemically or electrically, causing a reprogramming of the DNA in the cell which results in the conversion of this “cell” into a new human “organism” – a new human embryo (human being). Any diploid germ line cell at any stage of maturity can be cloned by nuclear transfer.
Cloning by means of twinning requires that a cell be totipotent (capable of forming a new embryo under certain conditions). There is a range of “totipotency” in the cells of the early human embryo, so there are several kinds of “twinning” possible, depending on the age of the embryo: “blasomere separation” and “blasotcyst splitting”. A “blastomere” is just the name given to any cell of the embryo from the 2-cell stage up to the 5-7 days blastocyst stage. They are all totipotent, but as long as they are part of the whole embryo they will not revert to new embryos. However, once a totipotent blastomere is separated from the whole embryo, then it is possible for it to be reverted to a new human embryo that is genetically “identical” to the original embryo. This is “twinning” by means of “blastomere separation”. One can also “twin” by means of splitting the older 5-7 day blastocyst, because many of the cells of the inner cell mass of the blastocyst are also totipotent. Therefore, once the embryo is split into groups of cells, these cells, or groups of cells, too are capable of possibly reverting to new embryos. This is “twinning” by means of “blastocyst splitting”. Both mechanisms result in monozygotic twins. Unlike cloning by means of nuclear transfer, this is a more exact kind of cloning, as both the nuclear genetic material and the mitochondrial genetic material outside the nucleus are the same in both “twins”. Both kinds of “twinning” are advertised by IVF centers as a means of “embryo multiplication” – which could not only reproduce new embryos for infertility “therapy”, but also for pure research purposes only.
This is a kind of cloning technique that involves the transferring of parts of a nucleus (molecules of DNA), rather than the whole nucleus, and is performed using micro-techniques refined in transgenic and in IVF research for decades. “Haploid” refers to “23” chromosomes (half the number required for a human being). “Pronuclei” are the haploid male and haploid female chromosomes formed at the very beginning of fertilization in the newly fertilized oocyte before they come together to form the zygote. Because the male and female pro-nuclei are still separate from each other, they can be individually removed and transferred to an enucleated oocyte (“egg”) to clone a new human being. For example, one could take the male pro-nucleus from one IVF-reproduced human embryo and transfer it to an enucleated oocyte. One could then take the female pro-nucleus from a different IVF-reproduced human embryo and transfer it to the same enucleated oocyte. Once this cell is chemically or electrically stimulated, it could cause the pronuclei to come together and form the new zygote. This would reproduce a human/human chimera – a human being derived from two different human embryos.
Secular Literature on Cloning
The possibility of human cloning, raised when Scottish scientists at Roslin Institute created the much-celebrated sheep “Dolly” (Nature 385, 810-13, 1997), aroused worldwide interest and concern because of its scientific and ethical implications. The feat, cited by Science magazine as the breakthrough of 1997, also generated uncertainty over the meaning of “cloning” –an umbrella term traditionally used by scientists to describe different processes for duplicating biological material.
What is cloning? Are there different types of cloning?
When the media report on cloning in the news, they are usually talking about only one type called reproductive cloning. There are different types of cloning however, and cloning technologies can be used for other purposes besides producing the genetic twin of another organism. A basic understanding of the different types of cloning is key to taking an informed stance on current public policy issues and making the best possible personal decisions. The following three types of cloning technologies will be discussed: (1) recombinant DNA technology or DNA cloning, (2) reproductive cloning, and (3) therapeutic cloning.
Recombinant DNA Technology or DNA Cloning
The terms “recombinant DNA technology,” “DNA cloning,” “molecular cloning,”or “gene cloning” all refer to the same process: the transfer of a DNA fragment of interest from one organism to a self-replicating genetic element such as a bacterial plasmid. The DNA of interest can then be propagated in a foreign host cell. This technology has been around since the 1970s, and it has become a common practice in molecular biology labs today.
Scientists studying a particular gene often use bacterial plasmids to generate multiple copies of the same gene. Plasmids are self-replicating extra-chromosomal circular DNA molecules, distinct from the normal bacterial genome (see image to the right). Plasmids and other types of cloning vectors are used by Human Genome Project researchers to copy genes and other pieces of chromosomes to generate enough identical material for further study.
To “clone a gene,” a DNA fragment containing the gene of interest is isolated from chromosomal DNA using restriction enzymes and then united with a plasmid that has been cut with the same restriction enzymes. When the fragment of chromosomal DNA is joined with its cloning vector in the lab, it is called a “recombinant DNA molecule.” Following introduction into suitable host cells, the recombinant DNA can then be reproduced along with the host cell DNA. See a diagram depicting this process.
Plasmids can carry up to 20,000 bp of foreign DNA. Besides bacterial plasmids, some other cloning vectors include viruses, bacteria artificial chromosomes (BACs), and yeast artificial chromosomes (YACs). Cosmids are artificially constructed cloning vectors that carry up to 45 kb of foreign DNA and can be packaged in lambda phage particles for infection into E. coli cells. BACs utilize the naturally occurring F-factor plasmid found in E. coli to carry 100 to 300 kb DNA inserts. A YAC is a functional chromosome derived from yeast that can carry up to 1 MB of foreign DNA. Bacteria are most often used as the host cells for recombinant DNA molecules, but yeast and mammalian cells also are used.
Reproductive cloning is a technology used to generate an animal that has the same nuclear DNA as another currently or previously existing animal. Dolly was created by reproductive cloning technology. In a process called “somatic cell nuclear transfer” (SCNT), scientists transfer genetic material from the nucleus of a donor adult cell to an egg whose nucleus, and thus its genetic material, has been removed. The reconstructed egg containing the DNA from a donor cell must be treated with chemicals or electric current in order to stimulate cell division. Once the cloned embryo reaches a suitable stage, it is transferred to the uterus of a female host where it continues to develop until birth.
Dolly or any other animal created using nuclear transfer technology is not truly an identical clone of the donor animal. Only the clone’s chromosomal or nuclear DNA is the same as the donor. Some of the clone’s genetic materials come from the mitochondria in the cytoplasm of the enucleated egg. Mitochondria, which are organelles that serve as power sources to the cell, contain their own short segments of DNA. Acquired mutations in mitochondrial DNA are believed to play an important role in the aging process.
Dolly’s success is truly remarkable because it proved that the genetic material from a specialized adult cell, such as an udder cell programmed to express only those genes needed by udder cells, could be reprogrammed to generate an entire new organism. Before this demonstration, scientists believed that once a cell became specialized as a liver, heart, udder, bone, or any other type of cell, the change was permanent and other unneeded genes in the cell would become inactive. Some scientists believe that errors or incompleteness in the reprogramming process cause the high rates of death, deformity, and disability observed among animal clones.
Therapeutic cloning, also called “embryo cloning,” is the production of human embryos for use in research. The goal of this process is not to create cloned human beings, but rather to harvest stem cells that can be used to study human development and to treat disease. Stem cells are important to biomedical researchers because they can be used to generate virtually any type of specialized cell in the human body. Stem cells are extracted from the egg after it has divided for 5 days. The egg at this stage of development is called a blastocyst. The extraction process destroys the embryo, which raises a variety of ethical concerns. Many researchers hope that one day stem cells can be used to serve as replacement cells to treat heart disease, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and other diseases.
In November 2001, scientists from Advanced Cell Technologies (ACT), a biotechnology company in Massachusetts, announced that they had cloned the first human embryos for the purpose of advancing therapeutic research. To do this, they collected eggs from women’s ovaries and then removed the genetic material from these eggs with a needle less than 2/10,000th of an inch wide. A skin cell was inserted inside the enucleated egg to serve as a new nucleus. The egg began to divide after it was stimulated with a chemical called ionomycin. The results were limited in success. Although this process was carried out with eight eggs, only three began dividing, and only one was able to divide into six cells before stopping.
(a) Cloning DNA in Plasmids.
By fragmenting DNA of any origin (human, animal, or plant) and inserting it in the DNA of rapidly reproducing foreign cells, billions of copies of a single gene or DNA segment can be produced in a very short time. DNA to be cloned is inserted into a plasmid (a small, self- replicating circular molecule of DNA) that is separate from chromosomal DNA. When the recombinant plasmid is introduced into bacteria, the newly inserted segment will be replicated along with the rest of the plasmid.
POPE JOHN PAUL II: “The legal norm in particular is called to define the juridical status of the embryo as a subject of rights, recognizing it as a biologically irrefutable fact which in itself calls for values that neither the moral nor the juridical order can ignore.
“For the same reason, I consider it my duty once again to assert these inviolable rights of the human being from his conception on behalf of all the embryos which are often subjected to freezing (cryopreservation), in many cases becoming an object of sheer experimentation or, worse, destined to programmed destruction backed by law.”
“Likewise, I confirm that it is gravely illicit, because of the dignity of the human person and of his having been called to life, to use methods of procreation which the Instruction ‘Donum vitae’ has defined as unacceptable to moral doctrine. The illicitness of these interventions on the origin of life and on human embryos has already been stated (cf. ‘Donum Vitae,’ I, 5; I1), but it is necessary that the principles on which the same moral reflection is based be taken up at the legal level. I therefore appeal to the conscience of the world’s scientific authorities and in particular to doctors, that the production of human embryos be halted, taking into account that there seems to be no morally licit solution regarding the human destiny of the thousands and thousands of ‘frozen’ embryos which are and remain the subjects of essential rights and should therefore be protected by law as human persons.”
“I also call on all jurists to work so that States and international institutions will legally recognize the natural rights of the very origin of human life and will likewise defend the inalienable rights which these thousands of ‘frozen’ embryos have intrinsically acquired from the moment of fertilization. Government leaders themselves cannot shirk this duty, if the value of democracy, which is rooted in recognizing the inviolable rights of every human individual, is to be safeguarded at its very origins.”(Reading: Pope John Paul II, “To the Symposium on ‘Evangelium Vitae’ and Law,” 5/24/96, L’Osservatore Romano, http://www.ewtn.com/library/papaldoc/jp960524.htm
PONTIFICAL ACADEMY FOR LIFE: “From a biological standpoint, the formation and the development of the human embryo appears as a continuous, coordinated and gradual process from the time of fertilization, at which time a new human organism is constituted, endowed with the intrinsic capacity to develop by himself into a human adult. The most recent contributions of the biomedical sciences offer further valuable empirical evidence for substantiating the individuality and developmental continuity of the embryo. To speak of a pre-embryo thus is an incorrect interpretation of the biological data. … The ethical exigency of respect and care for the life and integrity of the embryo, demanded by the presence of [a] human being, is motivated by aunitary conception of man (‘Corpore et anima unus’) whose personal dignity must be recognized from the beginning of his physical existence.”
Click HERE to go to the
Bishops’ Conference Comments on NIH Guidelines for Embryonic Stem Cell Research
White Paper. Emergency Contraceptives & Catholic Healthcare
This is a very articulate article, and it contains a good explanation of the biochemistry of a women’s reproductive cycle and a poignant review of the medical and theological arguments which are being put forth about the use of Plan B and other contraceptives. Some of the research cited in their paper may lack scientific rigor and statistical probability due to the small size of those women actually studied. When I discovered St. Dominic’s in Jackson Mississippi using Plan B in their emergency room in 2005; I brought it to the attention of Sister Dorthea. She told me she had no knowledge of the matter and she would not allow this in her hospital. She was stopped from doing this though since the Bishop of Jackson Mississippi gave his approval for its use.It was stealthy brought into the hospital. Dr. Marty Tucker said they had permission from the Bishops bioethics board. I believe this was a response to governmental regulations which required hospitals to give the pill to those who came into the emergency room and requested it.
I then discovered that the Franciscan Health Care System (Our Lady of the Lake, ect.) was also approving the Plan B pill using the argument that we do not have to have “absolute certitude” that we are not killing a baby, only “moral certitude”. That statement is as ludicrous as it is scary considering the apocalyptic age in which we live. Let us not forget that after the council most of the bishops in the world were clamoring for the Catholic Church to change their teachings on birth control. Pope Paul Vl had to go against them and write his prophetic encyclical Humanae Vitae to silence those dissenters of true Catholic teaching. The Catholic Church has a long history of Tradition and the faithful have to become alarmed when there is introduced into Catholic teaching anything that contradicts 2000 years of salvation history. I am glad bioethics is being brought into the public realm so we can enlighten Catholics on the moral use of any advances in medicine. Most of these advances have been used by the agents of satan to bring about death. Jerome Lejeune often said he regretted finding the genetic aberration which led to tests to detect Down’s Syndrome since 95% of those precious children are now being killed in the womb because of those tests. Moral ambiguity only helps the agents of death!
The following white paper on our website was prepared by Fr Thomas Berg and Marie Hilgers, a bioethicist with the National Catholic Bioethics Center- both orthodox Catholics. Good news is that their analysis is in English.
Dorinda C. Bordlee Vice President, Chief Counsel BIOETHICS DEFENSE FUND HTTP://BDFUND.ORG
White Paper. Emergency Contraceptives & Catholic Healthcare
The question of the licitness of providing “emergency contraceptives” to victims of sexual assault who present in the emergency rooms at Catholic hospitals is a critical matter for evaluating and developing appropriate protocols for sexual assault victims. An examination of the available scientific studies demonstrates that the most common emergency contraceptive—Plan B, generally administered to prevent ovulation—at times may fail to prevent conception from taking place and instead may prompt an early abortion. This necessitates answering the question of when, and under what circumstances, it is morally licit to provide contraceptive medications to sexual assault victims while avoiding the potential outcome of prompting an early abortion.