WASHINGTON, February 20, 2004 ( – Fr. Joseph Howard, director of the American Bioethics Advisory Commission, has issued a statement about the use of stem cell lines derived from aborted babies. The statement was prompted by the ongoing controversy at Washington’s Georgetown University where researchers at the Catholic university have refused to stop using cells derived from aborted fetal tissue.  The statement reveals that the US bishops’ own directive for ethics in medical research contradicts the conclusion of Catholic ethicists at Georgetown who found nothing to object to in the research. “The Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, which was approved by the U.S. bishops, tells us that ‘Catholic health care institutions should not make use of human tissue obtained by direct abortions even for research and therapeutic purposes.’”

Calling the argument in favor of the research “Machiavellian,” Fr. Howard said that the Church teaches that the ends can never justify the means. He called upon the university to halt the research saying that as a Catholic institution they “should be beyond reproach.” Said Howard, “the Catholic Church embraces the scientific pursuit of knowledge, but never at the expense of an innocent human life.” reported January 30, that the unethical stem cell research will continue at Georgetown. Washington’s Cardinal McCarrick had written to the pro-life group, Children of God for Life in response to their request for action on the research telling them that the situation “had been resolved.” However the University is carrying on with the research with the Cardinal’s blessing. On February 2, Director of Children of God for Life, Debra Vinnedge, told, “I’m appalled that they would continue to do this research.”

Susan Gibbs, Director of Communications at the Archdiocese of Washington told January 30, that “the Cardinal is comfortable with the university’s response to the situation.”  Statement of American Bioethics Advisory Commission:   Previous LifeSite coverage:  Catholic University Continuing to Use Cell Lines from Aborted Babies – Cardinal Approves   Georgetown Pro-Life Students Incredulous Over Use of Aborted Baby Cell Lines


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