Respect for Embryos Isn't a New Idea, Says Bishops' Aide

WASHINGTON, D.C., JUNE 12, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Ethical advisory boards in the last quarter century have substantially agreed that the human embryo deserves respect as a form of human life, a bishops’ aide says.

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Richard Doerflinger, deputy director of the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities, was among the witnesses who appeared today before the President’s Council on Bioethics. The council was listening to testimony on the values and principles that ought to govern policy on human embryo research.

Doerflinger reviewed the limits to human subject experimentation embraced by Western civilization over the last century, noting a rejection of utilitarian approaches in favor of consideration for the well-being of the human subject.

«By rejecting research avenues that rely on the destruction of developing human life,» he said, «our society will be able to devote itself all the more enthusiastically to ethically responsible medical research and the dissemination of its benefits to all human beings, especially the poorest and most vulnerable.»

«Research avenues posing no moral problem are rapidly advancing to treat previously incurable diseases, offering us opportunities to work together on forms of medical progress that all can support and that all patients can benefit from with a clear conscience,» he said.

His full testimony is at www.usccb.org/prolife/issues/bioethic/index.htm.

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