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FAITH Stem Cell Research and Human Cloning by: FR. GAMMY TULABING I would like to share with you this article from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

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What is a stem cell?

A stem cell is a relatively unspecia-lized cell that, when it divides, can do two things: make another cell like itself, or make any of a number of cells with more specialized functions. For example, just one kind of stem cell in our blood can make new red blood cells, or white blood cells, or other kindsdepending on what the body needs. These cells are like the stem of a plant that spreads out in different directions as it grows.

Is the Catholic Church opposed to all stem cell research?

Not at all. Most stem cell research uses cells obtained from adult tissue, umbilical cord blood, and other sources that pose no moral problem. Useful stem cells have been found in bone marrow, blood, muscle, fat, nerves, and even in the pulp of baby teeth. Some of these cells are already being used to treat people with a wide variety of diseases.

Why is the Church opposed to stem cell research using the embryo?

Because harvesting these stem cells kills the living human embryo. The church opposes the direct destruction of innocent human life for any purpose, including research.

If some human embryos will remain in frozen storage and ultimately be discarded anyway, why is it wrong to try to get some good out of them?

In the end, we will all die anyway, but that gives no one a right to kill us. In any case, these embryos will not die because they are inherently unable to survive, but because others are choosing to hand them over for destructive research instead of letting them implant in their mothers womb. One wrong choice does not justify an additional wrong choice to kill them for research, much less a choice to make tax payers support such destruction. The idea of experimenting on human beings because they may die anyway also poses a grave threat to convicted prisoners, terminally ill patients, and others.

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