Protests continue following the news that scientists at the Oregon Health and Science University created cloned human embryos that were then used as a source of stem cells.
Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston, chairman of the US bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, declared that human cloning is inconsistent with our responsibility to “treat each member of the human family as a unique gift of God, as a person with his or her own inherent dignity.”
“Creating new human lives in the laboratory solely to destroy them is an abuse denounced even by many who do not share the Catholic Church’s convictions on human life,” he said in a statement issued by the USCCB.
“Whether used for one purpose or the other, human cloning treats human beings as products, manufactured to order to suit other people’s wishes,” he added. “A technical advance in human cloning is not progress for humanity but its opposite.”
Moreover, he pointed out that the goal of producing stem cells for research is already being met by other scientific procedures that do not pose the grave moral problems that exist with cloning.
A press release by the Center for Bioethics and Culture (CBC) also strongly criticized the cloning of embryos.
It pointed out that the procedure involved a number of women who each donated a large number of ova. To produce such a large number at one time it is necessary to use ovarian hyperstimulation.
“The health risks associated with ovarian hyperstimulation and egg extraction are serious, in both the short and long term,” the CBC explained. “They include ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), ruptured cysts, ovarian torsion, infection, bleeding, kidney failure, stroke, and even death.
“Longer term risks include loss of fertility and cancers from the fertility drugs women who supply their eggs must take.”
“Women contemplating selling their eggs are not told that no long-term studies have been conducted on the health risks involved,” stated CBC President Jennifer Lahl.
“Many are not aware that there is virtually no regulation of egg trafficking in the United States; no national registry to keep records and track patient follow-up; or that the commercial fertility industry has every reason to minimize the health risks because of the enormous profits generated,” she said.
“Women are already being exploited, commodified, and subjected to serious physical harms through reproductive egg trafficking,” stated Kathleen Sloan, a consultant to the CBC and Board Member of the National Organization for Women.