Conservative Christian groups won a major victory recently when a Washington judge halted federal funding of embryonic stem cell research to allow a suit challenging the practice as illegal to go forward.
Ever since the University of Notre Dame announced that President Obama would receive an honorary degree and speak at its May 17 commencement ceremony, debate among American Catholics has grown increasingly heated.
Activists on both sides were disappointed when the Obama administration revealed its policy on embryonic stem cell research last month. The guidelines issued by the National Institutes of Health are “not bold enough,” in the view of the New York Times. But to the Family Research Council actions permitted under the guidelines will “destroy human life.”
The Obama administration has clarified its policy on embryonic stem cell research, issuing draft guidelines to expand federal funding for the controversial research but retaining a ban on funding for its most ethically fraught versions.
With an executive order, President Obama made official what many scientists had long anticipated and many religious conservatives had long feared—he lifted his predecessor’s near-total ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.
The nation’s Roman Catholic bishops have approved, by a vote of 191 to 1, a policy statement condemning embryonic stem cell research. Their seven-page statement calls such research “a gravely immoral act.” The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops took the vote June 13 at its semiannual meeting, held in Orlando, Florida.
Procedure derives cells without destroying embryos
Sep 19, 2006
Scientists unveiled last month a new way to derive potentially life-saving stem cells from an embryo without destroying it, but some abortion opponents said they regard the proposed method as unethical.