Advocates say NIH guidelines are middle groundcomment (0)
May 14, 2009
WASHINGTON — Some pro-life religious leaders are welcoming new draft guidelines from the National Institutes of Health on embryonic stem cell research as a balanced approach to the controversial procedure.
The guidelines, issued April 17, permit federally funded research on stem cells derived from embryos that are no longer needed for fertility treatments.
Most embryos that are not planned to be used in fertility treatments are discarded or kept in a type of frozen limbo. The draft guidelines presumably would not allow federal funds to be used to create embryos solely for research purposes.
“They have hit the right balance by limiting funding to particular slated-to-be-destroyed IVF (in vitro fertilization) cells yet expanding significantly the number of diseases that can be addressed by increasing the number and range of stem cell lines from which we can learn,” said Joel Hunter, pastor of an Orlando-area megachurch. “These guidelines respect life from beginning to end.”
The Roman Catholic Church opposes embryonic stem cell research, but Stephen Schneck, director of the Catholic University of America’s Life Cycle Institute, called the draft rules “a major step toward the common ground most Americans are now demanding.”
Former Southern Baptist Convention President Frank Page, in an April 17 statement, said the decision is not the one conservative Christians wanted most — a total ban on stem cell research — but is better than it could have been.
“While Dr. Page would wish for a ban on all embryonic stem cell research that results from the destruction of any human embryos (which he refers to as unborn babies), he is somewhat heartened by the fact that the White House has issued forth regulations which prohibit any stem cell research which would come from embryos created for research,” the statement reads.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins continued his criticism of the funding of any research of embryonic stem cells.