WASHINGTON, Aug. 4 ( – The controversy continues in the U.S. over stem cell research with pro-life Senator Strom Thurmond (R-SC) backing it while the Cancer Society withdraws its “sponsorship of Patients’ Cure, a group founded to publicize the benefits of stem cell research.”  The New York Times reported on the development with the Cancer Society last week, linking it to Catholic opposition to the research, which uses human embryos, killing them in the process.

The move came “after William Cardinal Keeler of Baltimore wrote the cancer society to urge it to reconsider its position,” reported NYT, but the cancer society denied the link.  Donal P. O’Mathuna, a professor of bioethics and chemistry at Mount Carmel College of Nursing in Columbus and a fellow of the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity in Bannockburn, Ill.,  is one of many Americans urging the government to use caution in proceeding with stem cell research. In a special column printed in The Columbus Dispatch on the weekend, he said “the central ethical question is whether the potential benefits outweigh the harm of destroying embryos.” He noted that A 1994 NIH panel concluded that human embryos ought to be treated with “profound respect,” but also approved of their destruction during research. Dr.  O’Mathuna then cited bioethicist Daniel Callahan, who has said: “I have always felt a nagging uneasiness at trying to rationalize killing something for which I claim to have profound respect.”