Tuesday, March 10, 2009


On March 9, 2009, on the 48th day of his presidency, Barack Hussein Obama signed an executive order lifting the restriction on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. In so doing, Obama overturned former President George W. Bush’s 2001 policy that barred the National Institutes of Health from funding research on embryonic stem cells beyond using 60 cell lines that existed at that time. Obama justified his executive order by saying, “In recent years, when it comes to stem cell research, rather than furthering discovery, our government has forced what I believe is a false choice between sound science and moral values.”

Nothing can be further from the truth. In fact, embryonic stem cell research is both scientifically ill-advised as well as immoral.

Below is an article written in 2005 by Bishop Vasa about the immorality of embryonic stem-cell research. Aside from its immorality, embryonic stem cells also have enormous practical problems that adult stem cells do not have, which raises the question of why scientists, politicians, and President Obama are so hell-bent on funding embryonic stem cell research.

Here are some quotes about the practical problems with embryonic stem cells, from http://coburn.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Files.View&FileStore_id

"Embryonic stem cells have too many limitations, including immune rejection and the potential to form tumors, to ever achieve acceptance in our lifetime. By that time, umbilical cord blood stem cells will have been shown to be a true gift from the gods." -Dr. Roger Markwald, Professor and Chair of Cell Biology and Anatomy at the Medical University of South Carolina, quoted in "CureSource Issues Statement on Umbilical Cord Blood Stem Cells vs. Embryonic Stem Cells," BusinessWire, May 12, 2004, also at http://curesource.net/why.html.

"We're not against stem-cell research of any kind, said [Tulane University research professor Brian] Butcher. But we think there are advantages to using adult stem cells. For example, with embryonic stem cells, a significant number become cancer cells, so the cure could be worse than the disease. And they can be very difficult to grow, while adult stem cells are easy to grow." --Heather Heilman, "Great Transformations," The Tulanian (Spring 2004 issue), at http://www2.tulane.edu/article_news_details.cfm?ArticleID=5155.

"Harvard researchers, trying to create human embryonic stem cell lines that are more clinically useful than those now available, find that their new cell lines are already genetically abnormal." --C. Cowan et al., "Derivation of Embryonic Stem-Cell Lines from Human Blastocysts," New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 350 (March 25, 2004), pp. 1353-6 at 1355.

"Transplanting a mixed population of cells could cause the growth of unwanted tissues. The worst case could see stem cells morphing into teratomas, particularly gruesome tumors that can contain hair, teeth, and other body parts." --Jonathan Bor, "Stem Cells: A long road ahead," Baltimore Sun, March 8, 2004, p. 12A. [Emphases supplied]

Here's Bishop Vasa's essay. Note that those, such as former First Lady Nancy Reagan and actor Michael J. Fox, who are applauding Obama's signing of an executive order approving federal funding for embryonic stem cell research are complicit with evil.

~Wishing you Peace in Christ.


"Embryonic stem-cell research is crime against human beings"
By Bishop Robert Vasa

BEND - The national discussion has again focused on the issue of embryonic stem cell research and the appropriateness of extending federal funding to this research. It hurts me to say it, but I suspect many Catholics, otherwise pro-life, do not recognize or acknowledge the extent of the evil involved in this proposal. One of the arguments touted in the latest attempt to use your and my tax dollars to fund this research is that the embryos would be discarded anyway, and since they are slated for destruction, it would be better to use them for the advancement of medical science.

It is important for us to recognize that the direct, intentional destruction of these frozen embryos is itself a categorical evil which cannot be condoned, and thus the recognition that someone is determined to destroy these embryos cannot be used as a justification for turning them over to a research laboratory. There these tiny human persons would be allowed to develop to a certain number of useful cells and then be dissected and killed so that some of their parts could be used for research.

It is conceded that these embryos are not yet gifted with consciousness nor do they experience any anxiety or pain. The use of these criteria to justify the wholesale slaughter of innocent, pre-born human persons, even for a purportedly very good cause, places utility above both sound reason and humanity. The very concept attempts to objectify the embryo from the status of a 'who' to that of a 'what.'

If the human embryo, that unique and morally unrepeatable biological entity of human origin, was only a thing, an 'it,' then experiment away. The human embryo, however, is somewhat more than a collection of cells, a biological entity, a frozen life form, a potential source of stem cells, or a 'potential' human being. The human embryo is a living human. One need only ask, 'Is it legitimate or conceivable that certain, completely innocent, members of our species should be selected out for destruction based on the hope that their destruction could result in great good for the rest of us?' If you hesitate, it means you have forgotten a fundamental moral principle, 'It is never licit to do evil in order that good might come from it.'

It is necessary to recognize that the principle which underlies the attempt to justify research on these innocent humans is precisely the opposite. It is, in the mind of scientists, most legitimate to perpetrate even great evil, provided that such evil can be couched in politically correct and acceptable euphemisms, in order to produce the next marvel of medical science. It is the abandonment of what Pope John Paul II, in Memory and Identity, called 'the just good (bonum honestum).' He distinguished this from the 'useful good (bonum utile) and the pleasurable good (bonum delectabile).' Pope John Paul wrote: 'These three types of good are intimately bound up with human action. When he acts, man chooses a certain good, which becomes the goal of his action. If the subject chooses a bonum honestum, his goal is conformed to the very essence of the object of his action and is therefore a just goal. When on the other hand the object of his choice is a bonum utile, the goal is the advantage to be gained from it for the subject. The question of the morality of the action remains open: only when the action bringing the advantage is just and the means are just, can the subject's goal also be seen to be just.'

In the case of embryonic stem cell research the action 'bringing the advantage,' legitimate scientific research, may be deemed to be just. This is clearly seen by the fact that adult stem cell research is progressing and offering many legitimate health benefits. It is certain, however, with embryonic stem cell research that the means are not just, for the means necessitate the direct and intentional destruction of human subjects.

When one looks only at the proposed personal advantage to be gained and fails, at the same time, to see the impact this has on others, even helpless, frozen, but living others, then one has chosen to live in the world Jesus came to save us from.

In that world, man seeks the useful and the pleasurable without regard to the human, without regard for the bonum honestum. Each acting and choosing subject is set in competition with and even opposition to other human persons. Others are seen as useful or pleasurable objects, not as living human persons, full of dignity and worthy of respect. This is the world of prostitution and pornography. This is the world of child abuse and promiscuity. This is the world of corporate greed and cutthroat economics. This is the world of gangs and drive-by shootings. This is the world of Nazi death camps and slavery. This is the world of embryonic stem cell research.

Many of those involved in these horrors failed and fail to recognize what they are doing. As far as they can see they are only trying to advance their own cause, seek the bonum utile or the bonum delectabile, or the cause of their particular group, society, state or nation. In doing so, however, they are, in reality, committing crimes against humanity.

The advancement of embryonic stem cell research is the advancement of crimes against humanity. No child, however tiny, should be the subject of human experimentation or research, much less undergo destruction so that such research could progress. It is absolutely inhumane!

Whether the child is conscious of or 'feels' the destructive actions of the scientist is immaterial. We are aware of what is being done in the name of science. We are the guilty bystanders who see and know and fail to speak; fail to act. It is, after all, our elected representatives who are proposing this funding.

Some of us perhaps even anticipate the medical progress hoped for so that we may take advantage of it. To do so is to become even more complicit in the evil now being considered for federal funding. It is bad enough that some choose to pursue this heinous research. It is worse to consider forcing conscientious Americans to pay for it.

It is, beyond this, even more distressing to think that many Catholics, otherwise pro-life, do not recognize or acknowledge the extent of the evil involved in such proposals. The willful destruction of innocent human life so that others may have a better life is to choose the bonum utile and abandon the bonum honestum. This evil is already being done by private enterprises. I pray we never adopt this as national policy. I pray that, as a nation, under God, we never stoop to such inhumanity.