WASHINGTON — The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) launched a new "Oppose Destructive Stem Cell Research" campaign today, equipping citizens to contact Congress and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to oppose embryonic stem cell research and support ethical cures and treatments "we can all live with."
The campaign is facilitated by the USCCB’s partner organization, the National Committee for a Human Life Amendment.
Following President Obama’s March 9 executive order, the NIH proposed guidelines for federally funded research that will require destroying live human embryos for their stem cells. The draft guidelines are open for public comment through May 26.
The campaign homepage, www.usccb.org/stemcellcampaign, summarizes why the proposed guidelines are unacceptable, provides links to USCCB resources (including the bishops’ statement "On Embryonic Stem Cell Research" and multi-media resources and ads), and encourages web users to "Contact Congress & NIH Now" through an e-mail interface. Several resources are available in both English and Spanish.
The campaign site explains that the NIH guidelines "would—for the first time—use taxpayer funds to encourage the killing of embryonic human beings for their stem cells." It continues, "Embryonic stem cell research treats innocent human beings as mere sources of body parts, as commodities for our use."
The webpage features a video of Cardinal Justin Rigali, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, critiquing the draft guidelines.
"The Catholic bishops of the United States will be writing to Congress and the Administration about the need to restore and maintain barriers against the mistreatment of human life in the name of science, and we urge other concerned citizens to do the same," Cardinal Rigali said.
Catholics and other citizens are urged to contact both NIH and Congress because members of Congress and the Administration have expressed interest in pursuing an even broader policy.
"They want to obtain stem cells by destroying human embryos specially generated for research through in vitro fertilization (IVF) or cloning procedures – a ‘create to kill’ policy," the campaign page explains.
Those who want to call for stem cell research and cures "we can all live with" may speak out by visiting www.usccb.org/stemcellcampaign and clicking on "Contact Congress & NIH Now."