Friday, December 12, 2008
Wash. Post: Vatican Condemns Cloning, Embryonic Stem Cell Research, by Michelle Boorstein & Rob Stein:
The Vatican, in its first authoritative statement on reproductive science in more than 20 years, today condemned human cloning, designer babies, embryonic stem cell research that destroys human embryos and a host of techniques widely used to help infertile couples.
The sweeping 32-page document, which comes from the Catholic Church's highest rule-making authority and has the approval of Pope Benedict, warns about the moral dangers of a variety of procedures, including the freezing of unfertilized eggs and embryos, the injection of sperm directly into eggs, and the genetic testing of embryos to identify those with defects.
Although many of the arguments in "Dignitas Personae" -- Latin for "the dignity of a person" -- have been made before by Benedict and his predecessor, Pope John Paul, in public comments or writings, a church "instruction" from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is far more authoritative. It reflects the Vatican's desire to focus attention on ethical questions raised by technologies that are becoming increasingly commonplace in the United States and elsewhere.