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Stem Cell Comment Period: Two Weeks To Go!

May 12, 2009

Please encourage citizens throughout the U.S. to submit comments to NIH on or before May 26.

THERE IS STILL TIME to act,
including spreading the word to all your interested family and friends.

The U.S. bishops encourage people all across the country to make our voices heard
and to oppose taxpayer funding that kills embryonic human beings.

Please submit comments about the guidelines
proposed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
regarding the use of taxpayer money
to fund human embryonic stem cell research.

The site www.nchla.org guides you quickly and easily
to submit comments due by 11:00 pm on Tuesday, May 26
at http://nihoerextra.nih.gov/stem_cells/add.htm.

(If you don’t want to use nchla.org to
send comments to Congress prior to sending comments to NIH,
you can go directly to the comment page at the nih.gov link noted above.
You can also submit comments by postal mail.)

Other details at www.usccb.org/stemcellcampaign.

 

As a result of the Presidential Executive Order (#13505) on March 9th, the National Institutes of Health (“NIH”) issued proposed guidelines for human embryonic stem cell research. The draft of those guidelines (available at http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/E9-9313.htm) includes taxpayer funding of that research. The public has the opportunity to send comments about the draft before the guidelines become official.

 

This attempt to use our tax payments for morally objectionable practices is an example of violation of our conscience rights. It is also an example of how the “FOCA agenda” (i.e., attitudes and actions indicated in the Freedom of Choice Act) can be advanced in step-by-step ways. A future step sought by some legislators (e.g., http://www.castle.house.gov/
News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=123799
 and http://www.degette.house.gov/
index.php?searchword=Stem+Cell+Research+E&ordering=
&searchphrase=all&option=com_search
 and also see the NCHLA Action Alert remark about those two legislators) will further open the door to human cloning. It is our duty as Christians to exercise our rights as citizens to clearly inform the government (agencies and legislators) what is and what is not acceptable.

 

The Catholic Church supports ADULT stem cell research wholeheartedly, but opposes the killing of human embryos to obtain the cells used in EMBRYONIC stem cell research.

 

There are only 14 days remaining in the public comment period, and several of those are during the Memorial Day holiday weekend, so please encourage as many people as you can in this short time to send comments to NIH on or before May 26. (Only the NIH has that definite deadline. Comments to Senators and Representatives can be sent after that date if you don’t have time before the 26th.)

 

Notes about some Web resources:

  • Use resources at this link to take specific action:

www.nchla.org is the main link.
Follow it to the NCHLA’s one-page Action Alert. Note that the Action Alert also provides a postal mailing address for submitting comments to NIH, in case there is some reason you prefer not to use the NIH.gov site.

(The nchla.org link also takes you to the “Grassroots Action Center ” to easily send messages to Congress (i.e., to your specific Representative and Senators) and then takes you to the government site http://nihoerextra.nih.gov/stem_cells/add.htm to submit comments to NIH. Deadline for NIH comments is 11 pm on May 26, the Tuesday immediately after the holiday weekend, so please encourage people to act promptly.)

 

  • Read resources at this link to become more familiar with the subject:

www.usccb.org/stemcellcampaign/ 
(Includes questions and answers at http://www.usccb.org/stemcellcampaign/q_and_a.shtml, with a Spanish option also available)

 

  • This third site is mentioned in NCHLA’s alert:

www.stemcellresearch.org 
(Includes http://www.stemcellresearch.org/facts/treatments.htm —- a list comparing the treatments available with adult stem cells versus embryonic stem cells. So in addition to the basic moral reasons for opposing embryonic stem cell research, the list clearly shows that adult stem cell research is far more productive! Even if you do not agree about the immorality of killing human embryonic children, consider whether or not you want your money spent on research that is not successful.)

 

  • The National Catholic Bioethics Center

http://www.ncbcenter.org/stemcell.asp

“The National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC), established in 1972, conducts research, consultation, publishing and education to promote human dignity in health care and the life sciences, and derives its message directly from the teachings of the Catholic Church.” (description quoted from home page at http://www.ncbcenter.org/index.asp.)

For example, NCBC says this about one of the myths: “Up to now, no human being has ever been cured of a disease using embryonic stem cells. Adult stem cells, on the other hand, have already cured thousands. There is the example of the use of bone marrow cells from the hipbone to repair scar tissue on the heart after heart attacks. Research using adult cells is 20-30 years ahead of embryonic stem cells and holds greater promise. This is in part because stem cells are part of the natural repair mechanisms of an adult body, while embryonic stem cells do not belong in an adult body (where they are likely to form tumors, and to be rejected as foreign tissue by the recipient). Rather, embryonic stem cells really belong only within in the specialized microenvironment of a rapidly growing embryo, which is a radically different setting from an adult body.” (from myth #3 at http://www.ncbcenter.org/10Myths.pdf.)

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