By Reverend Dr. Carlton W. Veazey, President and CEO, Religious Coalition
The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC) congratulates President Obama for lifting the Bush administration's ideological restrictions on federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research. This change is a victory for rational policy-making that respects diverse religious and moral views and a defeat for right-wing religious politics.
Major Protestant denominations and Jewish traditions* took official positions supporting federal funding for carefully regulated research with stem cells from embryos that are slated to be destroyed (generally those left over from in vitro fertilization). These bodies do not support the creation of embryos for research; that is, they oppose cloning of embryos.
In 2000, the RCRC Board of Directors adopted the following statement about the moral issues involved in this research: "We believe, as do most authorities and commissions that have addressed the issue, that human embryos have the potential of personhood and, as such, they deserve respect. But excess embryos slated for destruction must not be placed above persons whose pain and suffering might be alleviated due to the knowledge gained from studying embryonic cells.
Placing obstacles in the way of life-saving research with embryonic stem cells that are already created and will be destroyed is misguided. In the case of existing embryos that will be destroyed, providing federal funding for research is, in our view, fully consistent with respect for human life. Millions of Americans suffer from diseases and injuries that could be treated if scientists had adequate funds to research and develop new therapies."
Read an Opposing View from the Family Research Council, "Obama's Stem Cell Decision Will Destroy Human Life"
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