A respect for life demands that society treats all human life with equal respect. Currently, Maryland’s support of embryonic stem cell research stands in contrast to a true respect for human life.
The Catholic Church supports ethically responsible stem cell research, which are defined by methods that do not include the destruction of human embryos. Examples of such methods include the use of umbilical cord blood, amniotic fluid, and adult stem cells. Ethically responsible stem cell research has been used on a regular basis to treat thousands of patients, by an array of leading medical institutions and Catholic hospitals. These methods have shown success with more than 70 conditions, including Parkinson’s, spinal cord injury, heart disease, blindness, and cancer.
Unlike ethically responsible stem cell research, embryonic stem cell research methods result in the exploitation or destruction of human embryos. Because the Church opposes deliberately destroying innocent human life at any stage, for research or any other purpose, it opposes embryonic stem cell research as it is currently conducted. Additionally, in contrast to ethically responsible stem cell research methods, embryonic stem cell research has proven to yield relatively insignificant contributions to medicine.
The Maryland Catholic Conference supports efforts to limit funding resources directed to embryonic stem cell research, while concurrently advocating for the expansion of ethical stem cell research funding.