Clergy Statement on Stem Cell Research
A Statement by the Planned Parenthood Clergy Advisory Board
One of the finest achievements of humanity is the conquest of disease. Few human enterprises embody greater compassion, few awaken greater hope. All religions find common ground in the imperative to relieve suffering. Today embryonic stem cell research, a stunning new technology, is being developed to fulfill that imperative.
The overwhelming consensus of scientific and medical opinion supports the immediate and rigorous effort to advance the field of embryonic stem cell research. Thus people of all faiths and persuasions, those suffering from Parkinson's disease, serious burns, juvenile diabetes, and other serious illnesses turn to this promising field with hope for cures.
As religious leaders from many faiths, we offer extensive, daily, and ongoing pastoral care to children and adults afflicted by life-threatening and life-altering medical conditions. From our firsthand perspectives as providers of spiritual support, hope, and prayer, we believe that embryonic stem research must move ahead — fully and immediately, with proper ethical safeguards, such as securing the informed consent of embryo donors and the protection of the safety and rights of those who might donate other reproductive materials.
The promising field of stem cell research turns to embryos that are
- unneeded byproducts of in vitro fertilization
- likely to be destroyed or allowed to deteriorate in frozen storage where nothing will ever come of them
Therefore, the higher moral ground rests, for those who so choose, to donate their embryos to the effort to bring comfort and healing to those in need. No other source of stem cells — such as umbilical cord blood, amniocentesis, or adult stem cells — can substitute for stem cells derived from human embryos.
We believe that
- Our growing understanding of science through embryonic stem cell research is consistent with God's plan for our expansion of our understanding of God's universe.
- People have the right to benefit from the healing powers of medical science.
- People have the right to determine the destiny of their embryos.
- Any cures that are discovered should be distributed equitably to all in need, regardless of their race, ethnicity, or ability to pay.