Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pro-lifers decry University of Michigan's new embryonic stem cell line

After the University of Michigan announced the creation of a new embryonic stem cell line, pro-life critics decried the move as “dishonorable,” arguing that human lives were destroyed for “unproven research.”

On Oct. 3, the University of Michigan wrote in a press release that “after several attempts,” the school successfully created a new embryonic stem cell line known as UM4-6. The act was made possible by Michigan voters in November 2008 who approved a state amendment allowing scientists to use surplus embryos from fertility clinics. The university stated that work on UM4-6 began in May, was completed in late September and was conducted without federal funds.

“This historic achievement opens the door on a new era for U-M researchers, one that holds enormous promise for the treatment of many seriously debilitating and life-threatening diseases,” said University of Michigan president Mary Sue Coleman.

“This accomplishment will enable the University of Michigan to take its place among the world’s leaders in every aspect of stem cell research.”

In a statement on Oct. 4, however, Michigan Right to Life condemned the creation of the embryonic stem cell line, arguing that the university's press release states “several attempts” at success were made in the process, which means that “several human beings were killed in order to obtain this stem cell line.”

“Based on previous attempts to create embryonic stem cell lines by other institutions such as the University of Wisconsin and the Jones Institute,” read the pro-life group's statement, “researchers likely killed between 4-10 human embryos.”

Right to Life of Michigan president Barbara Listing added to the commentary, saying that while “we knew University of Michigan researchers were planning on killing human embryos for their cells, we are saddened to know that human beings were sacrificed without their consent for this unproven research.”

“It is wrong to kill some human beings in the vague hope of treating others,” she underscored.

Listing noted that there “are many life-affirming alternatives to embryonic stem cell research” and that “it is dishonorable that some researchers in Michigan feel they have to destroy human lives.”

“Embryos who do not have a voice are human enough for experimentation, but not human enough to be given a chance at life.”

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