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 CNS Story:

USCCB-STEMCELLS (CORRECTED) Aug-23-2004 (370 words) xxxn

New flier produced on stem cell research, human cloning

By Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The U.S. bishops' Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities has developed a series of questions and answers for Catholics on stem-cell research and human cloning that has been published as a flier for use in parish bulletins.

Titled "Stem Cell Research and Human Cloning: Questions and Answers," the flier spells out Catholic teaching on these issues.

The church is not opposed to stem cells obtained from adult tissue, umbilical cord blood, bone marrow, muscle, fat, nerves and similar sources, the flier says. The church, though, opposes embryonic stem-cell research "because harvesting these stem cells kills the living human embryo."

The flier acknowledges there are some human embryos in frozen storage and likely to be discarded. "In the end we will all die anyway, but that gives no one a right to kill us," it said. "One wrong choice does not justify an additional wrong choice to kill them for research, much less a choice to make taxpayers support such destruction."

Rather than calling Catholics to choose the lives of embryos over suffering patients, the church is "calling us to respect both, without discrimination," the flier says.

It adds that "thousands of lives have been saved by adult stem cells -- most often in the form of 'bone-marrow transplants' for leukemia and other conditions. ... Today, adult stem cells have been used to help people with Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injury, sickle-cell anemia, heart damage, corneal damage and dozens of other conditions."

The flier says the church opposes human cloning because it is "a depersonalized way to reproduce, in which human beings are manufactured in the laboratory to preset specifications. It is not a worthy way to bring a new human being into the world."

"Through this resource we hope Catholics can arrive at a more informed perspective on one of the fundamental issues of the 21st century," said a statement from Cardinal William H. Keeler of Baltimore, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

- - -

Editor's Note: "Stem Cell Research and Human Cloning: Questions and Answers," is available for $10 per 100 copies. It can be ordered toll-free by calling: (800) 235-8722, and asking for publication No. 5-665.

END


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