Vatican signs deal to collaborate on adult stem cell research

The unusual agreement with NeoStem allows the church, which opposes embryonic stem cell use, to be seen as taking a constructive role in one of the most promising areas of medical research.

By Mitchell Landsberg,

Los Angeles Times October 20, 2011

As chairman and chief executive of her own company, Dr. Robin Smith is a significant player in the world of biopharmaceutical products and research. Self-confident, poised and well traveled, she is used to dealing with movers and shakers.

But when she negotiated an agreement with her company's latest business partner, she didn't deal directly with the top executive.

He is, after all, the pope.

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Stop embryonic cell research, Pope urges

Thu Oct 11, 2007 9:40am EDT

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict appealed to scientists on Thursday to stop using human embryos in stem cell research, saying it violated the dignity of human life.

The Vatican supports stem cell research so long as it does not harm embryos, which the Catholic Church argues are humans from the moment of conception.

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Catholics must vote, U.S. bishops agree in pre-election messages

Catholics must vote, U.S. bishops agree in pre-election messages
By Nancy Frazier O'Brien
10/27/2006
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) – As the midterm elections near, some Catholic bishops are not finding any pressing moral issues to comment on in their dioceses, while others are jumping into the fray – especially about the moral content of referendum issues facing voters in 37 states.

. . .

Archbishop Raymond L. Burke of St. Louis said Missouri is facing "an unimaginably severe moral crisis" as it prepares to vote on an initiative that could make embryonic stem-cell research and human cloning a constitutional right.

"The passage of Amendment 2 would be a moral disaster for our state" and the nation, Archbishop Burke wrote in a column for his archdiocesan newspaper, the St. Louis Review. "If Amendment 2 succeeds in the state of Missouri, which has the reputation of being pro-life, then the proponents of human cloning and the destruction of embryonic human life will surely be emboldened to undertake the same deadly initiative in other states of our union."


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Ethical stem cells still horrify Vatican

Ethical stem cells still horrify Vatican
27th August 2006, 9:30 WST

The Catholic church is rejecting claims in the US of new "embryo-safe" stem-cells, pouring cold water on hopes by many scientists of ending ethical uproar over their research.

A US company says it has developed a way to create the stem cells without harming the original embryo, which the Vatican holds is a full-fledged human life.

The breakthrough technique was meant to answer critics at the papal palace, the White House and beyond, who have long argued that it was ethically reproachable to attempt to save one life by taking another.

But the head of the Vatican's Pontifical Academy for Life, Bishop Elio Sgreccia, told Reuters in an interview that the new method by Advanced Cell Technology Inc failed to overcome the church's many moral concerns.

Sgreccia said the procedure was wrong footed from the start - experimenting with embryos is reprehensible, as is use of "unnatural" in-vitro embryos created at fertility clinics, like the ones the US scientists employed in their research.

Advanced Cell then made things worse by extracting what could be a "totipotent" cell, Sgreccia said.

"This is not just any cell, but a cell capable of reproducing a human embryo," Sgreccia said. He added that, in effect: "a second embryo is being destroyed".

Across the Atlantic, Richard Doerflinger, a bioethics expert with the US Conference of Bishops, has accused the scientists of "killing" 16 embryos during their research.

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Patients said to offer stem-cell solution

Patients said to offer stem-cell solution
'we can all live with'

By Nancy Frazier O'Brien
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — As the U.S. Senate prepared to consider competing proposals on the funding of stem-cell research, a representative of the U.S. bishops' pro-life office said the presence of four people on Capitol Hill showed that "there are solutions we can all live with."

Deirdre McQuade, director of planning and information in the bishops' Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities, participated in a June 20 press conference organized by Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., and featuring four patients who have been treated successfully for a variety of illnesses with adult stem cells or those from umbilical-cord blood.

The four were Jackie Rabon of Waverly, Ill., a paraplegic who received a successful treatment with adult stem cells; Ryan Schneider of Chicago, who received a cord-blood treatment for cerebral palsy; Abby Pell of the Washington area, who was treated with her own cord blood for brain damage she suffered at birth; and David Foege of Naples, Fla., who was successfully treated for heart failure with adult stem cells.

"We praise these patients and families for their courage, their persistence and their willingness to come to Washington to present how ethically sound stem-cell research is paving the road to treatments," McQuade said.

"No one should think that the stem-cell debate forces us to choose between ethics and science," she added. "We can support both. There is no need to sell our souls in the quest to heal our bodies."

At the press conference Brownback said the four told "absolutely phenomenal stories of successes" using adult stem cells or cord-blood stem cells. "We need to do more of this," he added.

The Kansas senator called for a full floor debate on bioethics issues when the Senate considers H.R. 810, the Stem-Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005, which he and the Catholic Church oppose.

"I want you to see where we're seeing successes without bioethical questions involved," he said at the press conference.


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Aquinas would have shunned stem cell work

Aquinas would have shunned stem cell work

By EDWARD J. RICHARD
Published Sunday, May 28, 2006

Contrary to the implication of former Sen. Thomas Eagleton in his commentary in the Tribune last Sunday, Saint Thomas Aquinas did not teach that the human embryo is something less than human.

It has become routine now, in the stem cell debate, to throw out assertions that certain writings of Saints Augustine and Aquinas are not consistent with the authentic Catholic teaching on the grave sinfulness of abortion and destruction of pre-nascent life.These saints taught the serious sinfulness of deliberate destruction of innocent life at any stage, and they believed that the child in the womb - they were not aware of zygotes and embryos, as such - was human from the start. (See Anne B. Gardiner’s article in the New Oxford Review, 2004.) In an on the subject published in the Jan. 17, 2003, National Catholic Reporter, bioethics expert and Professor Father Brian Johnstone said, "There was never any question (in Augustine and Aquinas) of whether terminating a pregnancy was sinful, but rather what kind of sin it was in the early stages - homicide or something else."


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Doyle tells bishops he won't rethink stem cell support

Doyle tells bishops he won't rethink stem cell support

(Published Thursday, May 25, 2006 08:14:11 AM CDT)

By Ryan J. Foley
Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. - Gov. Jim Doyle broke with Wisconsin's two most prominent Catholic bishops on Wednesday, bluntly telling them he would not rethink his strong support of embryonic stem cell research.

"While I appreciate your thoughts on this important issue, I also feel a responsibility to promote vital research which holds the potential to save countless lives and bring thousands of jobs to our state," Doyle, a Catholic, wrote in a letter to Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy Dolan and Madison Bishop Robert Morlino.

The Democratic governor wrote in response to the bishops' letter on Monday in which they criticized an executive order he signed last month setting aside $5 million to recruit companies doing stem cell research to Wisconsin.

Doyle has consistently championed research using embryonic stem cells, which was pioneered at University of Wisconsin-Madison, and has made the issue a central part of his re-election campaign. His challenger, U.S. Rep. Mark Green, R-Green Bay, supports sharp limits on the research.

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Biopolitics: Can't We All Just Get Along?

Biopolitics: Can't We All Just Get Along?

by Nigel M. de S. Cameron | posted 04/27/2006 10:00 a.m.

For years, some of us have been saying that the issues raised by advances in biotechnology will dominate the 21st century—not just because new technology is always fascinating, but also because they will become the key issues in our culture and our politics. Think of the culture war over abortion, and then think much, much bigger. We will move from taking human life to making and finally faking human life—by design.

The cloning/stem-cell debates have been a forerunner of that enlarged culture war. Yet it's important to make some things clear. Those of us who would be seen as "social conservatives" are not Luddites. We are not opposed to technology. We may be more skeptical than some as to its benefits or its harmlessness, because we tend to take a Judeo-Christian view of human nature. It is flawed; humans can do wonderful things, but they can also do incredibly evil things, and new technology always gives us the power to do more than we could have before. Furthermore, because we are flawed and finite, our technologies are flawed. Space shuttles explode. Microsoft Windows crashes. My PDA rearranged my schedule one day. We all have our own stories.

At a conference in Washington recently, the Center for American Progress made a push for "progressive" bioethics and against "bioconservatives." This is curious, because one of the most striking facts of our time is that just as economic and social "conservatives" have disagreed on key biopolicy issues, so also "progressives" are thoroughly divided. Many of them side with "conservatives" on a wide range of bioethics issues, from cloning to germline (inheritable) changes to the need for reform in the patenting of human genes.

Part of the problem lies with BIO, the trade group of the biotechnology industry. Many of their efforts are estimable: Biotech will lead to cures for many diseases, and we will welcome them. But the organization, which brought together nearly 20,000 people at a conference in Chicago this April, has for obscure reasons decided to take sides in the great debate about embryonic stem-cell research and cloning.

There are many reasons why their decision is strange. For one thing, whatever hype we may read in the press, the private investment in embryonic stem-cell research is tiny, and stem cells do not feature on standard lists of "10 most promising bio developments." Moreover, Pharma—the far larger group that represents drug manufacturers—has deliberately stayed out of the debate and takes no official line on the issue.

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Nations United on Bioethics

Nations United on Bioethics
But is anybody in the West reading the new declaration?
by Nigel M. de S. Cameron | posted 10/19/2005 09:00 a.m.

Though ignored in the U.S. press, this past week saw the culmination of more than a decade of negotiations on a document that could prove one of the keys to the human future. And it reminds us of the equally neglected U.N. cloning declaration passed earlier in the year.

UNESCO, the United Nations arm that focuses on educational, social, and cultural issues, is based in Paris. While the General Assembly and the Security Council (which meet in New York City) tend to get the headlines, the vastly wide brief of UNESCO is ignored. For years, the U.S. was not even a member (we pulled out as there was so much incompetence and corruption in the UNESCO bureaucracy). But shortly before the Iraq war, President Bush announced in person that the U.S. would rejoin. UNESCO is a healthier place than it was 20 years ago, and it has just concluded one of its most strategic projects.

This past week, UNESCO's General Conference unanimously approved the Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights. While the details of the document are mostly unexciting—any consensus document that signed by all the nations of the world is not going to hit controversial issues on the head—the very fact of its endorsement shows that every nation now has the biopolicy agenda on its radar screen. And while for the U.S. statements of this kind may not be very influential (we are locked into our domestic debates and have been talking about the issues for decades), for many smaller countries and most of the developing world they have huge significance. Many nations will use the declaration as the basis of national policies.


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Link to UNESCO Press Release.

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Vatican: Refusing vaccines must be weighed against health threats

Vatican: Refusing vaccines must be weighed against health threats

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By Carol Glatz

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The Vatican urged parents to use caution when deciding not to inoculate their children against infectious diseases when so-called "ethical vaccines" are not yet available.

In a paper, the Vatican's Pontifical Academy for Life reaffirmed a person's right to abstain from receiving vaccines that were prepared from cells derived from aborted fetuses, but it said such a choice must be made after carefully considering whether refusing the vaccination would pose serious health risks to the child and the larger public.

"We are responsible for all people, not just ourselves," Msgr. Jacques Suaudeau, a medical doctor and official at the Pontifical Academy for Life, told Catholic News Service.

"If it is a question of protecting the whole population and avoiding death and malformation in others, that is more important" than abstaining from vaccines developed from abortions that might have occurred decades ago, he said.

The academy's paper, "Moral Reflections on Vaccines Prepared From Cells Derived From Aborted Human Fetuses," was based on a study of the issue resulting from a request by a Largo, Fla.-based pro-life group, Children of God for Life. In June 2003 the group asked the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for a formal statement on the church's position concerning the morality of using vaccines associated with human tissue coming from abortions.

The doctrinal congregation approved of the academy's findings, which were published in Italian in the May/June edition of Medicina e Morale (Medicine and Morals), a journal put out by the bioethics institute at Rome's Sacred Heart University.

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Woo-Suk Hwang has pioneered human somatic cell nuclear transfer, and that’s where his troubles begin.

“I am just one scientist”
Woo-Suk Hwang has pioneered human somatic cell nuclear transfer, and that’s where his troubles begin.

By Matt Donnelly
(July 19, 2005)

Woo-Suk Hwang is Posco Chair Professor in the department of theriogenology and biotechnology in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Seoul National University in South Korea. He is recognized the world over for his work in human somatic cell nuclear transfer, commonly known as embryonic stem cell research. In an e-mail interview, Hwang, who is a practicing Buddhist, told Science & Theology News web editor Matt Donnelly about his work, how it has been misunderstood and why he sees himself as “just one scientist.”

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Stem-cell science stirs debate in Muslim world, too

Stem-cell science stirs debate in Muslim world, too

By Christl Dabu | Contributor to The Christian Science Monitor

CAIRO AND TORONTO – Egypt is joining the ranks of nations where scientists conduct stem-cell research. The private Egyptian IVF (in vitro fertilization) Center in Cairo is preparing to start such work in October, using stem cells from umbilical cord blood with the permission of newborns' parents. It won't delve immediately into the controversial realm of embryonic stem cells or therapeutic cloning - a way of deriving stem cells from cloned embryos.
But as technology and cost barriers come down, clinical director Gamal Serour says he'd like to eventually use surplus "early embryos" from consenting couples who no longer need them for in vitro fertilization.

That could spark the same kind of ethical debate in Egypt that's now raging in the United States, and the prospect provides a window onto the Muslim world's divided views about the issue.

Unlike the Vatican in Catholicism, Islam does not have a centralized authority to state a position. Most Muslim countries - including Egypt - don't yet have laws concerning embryonic stem-cell research and cloning, says Thomas Eich, a researcher on Islamic bioethics at Bochum University in Germany.

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An Encounter Between Religion and Biotechnology

An Encounter Between Religion and Biotechnology

JUNE 16, 2005 03:04
by Jeong-Gook Yoon (jkyoon@donga.com)

Professor Hwang Woo-suk of Seoul National University and Archbishop Chung Jin-suk of the Seoul Catholic Parish met on the afternoon of June 15 at the office of bishops in Myeong Dong Catholic Cathedral. The two, who have demonstrated differences in opinion over human embryonic stem cell research, had a broad dialogue on bioethics issues like stem cell research and the use of women’s eggs.

They agreed on the principle, “Scientists should respect human life in any case,” and decided to make efforts to help science and religious circles build mutual understanding. In particular, they reached a consensus on complementary research on embryonic and adult stem cells.

Archbishop Chung said in the meeting, “The Catholic Church considers conception as the beginning of human life and the destruction of an embryo as that of a human,” adding, “We also define Professor Hwang’s embryonic stem cells as human embryos.”

In response, Professor Hwang explained in detail, “The SNU research team harvested skin cells from patients of incurable diseases and harvested stem cells from the skin cells, using nucleus transplants of body cells. The stem cells have never undergone the process of conceiving. Also, they cannot develop into life, as there’s no possibility of implantation.”

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Bill to Protect Health Care Workers and Medical Students Who Object to Work with Stem Cells Moves Toward the Governor

Conscience Clause
Updated: 5:56 PM Jun 14, 2005

The so–called Conscience Clause is likely to be one step closer to becoming law, despite the objections of Assembly Democrats.

Democrats called a press conference this morning to reiterate their objections to the bill.

It would protect health care workers and med students if they objected to performing certain procedures because of their religious beliefs.

It would also not allow employers to fire or discipline employees who refused to do certain work, like perform abortions, euthanasia, or work with stem cells or end of life procedures.

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Stem Cell Ethics Differ in Asia

South Korea’s successful cloning of stem cells from the skin cells of 11 different patients stood the scientific world on its head in late May.

The research breakthrough brings us closer to the day when therapeutic cloning could be used to treat a variety of conditions, including Parkinson’s, diabetes and heart disease.

It also signaled that Asian scientists are well positioned to exploit their research advantage, fueled in part by generous government support.

America leads in one area: feuding over ethical uses of embryonic stem cells. Asia seems comparatively unbothered. Why?

Perhaps the answer lies in different belief systems. While Christianity is rooted in Asia, Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism remain the most powerful traditions. And each tradition favors the living person over the unborn.

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Are Living Wills a "Mortal Sin"?

Are Living Wills a "Mortal Sin"?
Madison
9:29 PM Apr 24, 2005
NBC 15

The Bishop of the Madison Diocese is clarifying the church's position on living wills.

Bishop Robert Morlino says he needed to do so because of the debate that erupted over the Terry Schiavo case.

The Bishop received lots of letters and emails asking if living wills were a mortal sin. He answered in a recent edition of the Catholic Herald stating that, "According to the church's doctrine, if a living will gets in the way of medical procedures that could prevent death, even if a person is permanently unconscious, it is a mortal sin."

"When the boxes are checked off, one would get the impression that the author of this document intends suicide under certain circumstances, and that can never be for a disciple of Christ," says Bishop Morlino.

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Next pope will face bioethical challenges unforeseen 27 years ago

Next pope will face bioethical challenges unforeseen 27 years ago

By Nancy Frazier O'Brien
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- When Pope John Paul II was elected to the papacy in October 1978, the world's first test-tube baby was not yet 3 months old and a young woman named Karen Ann Quinlan remained in a New Jersey nursing home, breathing on her own two years after her parents won a court battle to remove her respirator.

It would take three years for the first test-tube baby to be born in the United States and four more after that before Quinlan, fed through a nasal gastric tube, would died of pneumonia.

As complicated as those bioethical issues of life and death seemed at the time, Pope John Paul II's successor will face a vastly more complex series of questions and challenges, according to Catholic bioethical experts interviewed by Catholic News Service.

Today, up to a million test-tube babies have been born worldwide, with questions just surfacing now about their long-term physical and emotional health. And the latest debate about the "right to die," in the case of the severely brain-damaged Terri Schindler Schiavo, involved withdrawing food and water, leading to her death from starvation and dehydration 13 days later, on March 31.

"By the time (Pope John Paul II) became pope, we were already dealing with abortion, and euthanasia really took hold during his pontificate," said John Haas, president of the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia.

But the bioethical questions that will confront the next pontiff will be much more scientific and technical, as stem-cell research involving human embryos gains greater acceptance in many parts of the world and various gene therapies permit the creation of "enhanced" human beings -- children with characteristics desired by their parents, athletes able to perform unheard-of feats and seniors whose bodies defy the aging process.

Haas said the issue of embryonic stem cells will present "a profound problem for Catholics in terms of doing molecular research." With research involving cells line derived from embryos "happening everywhere," he added, "We might be blessed if no therapies develop from embryonic stem cells" and more scientists turn their attention to adult stem cells, which have achieved some therapeutic successes in humans.

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Bioethics Document in the Works

Bioethics Document in the Works

The Holy See is working on a new document addressing bioethical issues, a Vatican aide told reporters.

4/14/2005

ROME, APRIL 14, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See is working on a new document addressing bioethical issues, a Vatican aide told reporters.

Dominican Father Augustine Di Noia, who has been undersecretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, told U.S. journalists Tuesday that the document will be a sequel to a similar position paper written about 20 years ago, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.


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Science replays the crucifixion

Science replays the crucifixion
TV show blends Bible and biomechanics

By Alan Boyle
Science editor
MSNBC
Updated: 4:35 p.m. ET March 25, 2005Biblical archaeologist Jonathan Reed says he has undergone something of a conversion. Maybe that's what staging a crucifixion does to you.

For "Quest for Truth: The Crucifixion," a TV documentary premiering on Easter Sunday on the National Geographic Channel, Reed conducted an experiment with a volunteer tied to an actual cross. Reed even took a turn on it himself.

No one was actually hurt. The researchers stopped short of pounding nails into feet, and monitored their volunteer victims closely for any signs of stress. But Reed, a religion professor at the University of La Verne in California, said spending time on the cross was nevertheless a "dark" experience that gave him a new appreciation for Roman cruelty.

It also changed his mind on some of the central historical questions surrounding the practice. Going into the experiment, Reed fully believed that crucifixion victims couldn't have been nailed by the palms of the hands, and that they had to have died of asphyxiation. But now he thinks the Romans could well have targeted the palms to maximize their victims' agony, and that death was more likely due to heart failure, brought on by shock, pain and exposure.

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Is It Ever Okay To Pull a Feeding Tube?

Is It Ever Okay To Pull a Feeding Tube?
"The governing ethical criteria are that it's inappropriate to intend someone's death."
An interview with Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity president John Kilner | posted 03/24/2003 03:00 p.m.


Christianity Today magazine associate editor Jeff M. Sellers spoke about Schiavo's situation with John Kilner, president of the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity.

What are the Christian ethical guidelines for deciding whether to remove the feeding/hydration tube from Terri Schiavo?

There are two important ethical considerations—the medical situation and the patient's wishes.

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Vatican focuses debate over the end of life

Vatican focuses debate over the end of life
By Charles M. Sennott, Globe Staff | March 25, 2005

VATICAN CITY -- As Christians today commemorate the death of Jesus on the cross, theologians here say the confluence of the legal drama surrounding Terri Schiavo and the deteriorating health of Pope John Paul II shows how the suffering of Jesus nearly 2,000 years ago can also inform the modern debate on the end of life.

The Vatican this week publicly supported a plea to the courts from Schiavo's parents to allow her feeding tube to be reinserted, and observers here described it as a highly unusual step for the hierarchy of the Catholic Church to jump into the fray of a legal case that is riveting the media.

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Lawsuit over an embryo fuels debate on when life begins

Lawsuit over an embryo fuels debate on when life begins

An Illinois judge allows a wrongful-death suit involving a 'pre-embryo' to go forward, deepening a moral divide.

By Amanda Paulson | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

CHICAGO – When Alison Miller and Todd Parrish filed a wrongful-death suit for the destruction of their frozen embryos by a fertility clinic, they just wanted some compensation for their disappointed hopes.
But when a Chicago judge broke precedents by letting the suit stand last month, the decision's ramifications for reproductive technology, stem-cell research, and abortion stirred debate across the nation.

Judge Jeffrey Lawrence's decision is almost certain to be overturned. But it does serve the purpose of underscoring just how sensitive the issue of "personhood" has become in the highly charged world of reproductive rights.

Central to the emotional and philosophical debate over abortion is defining when an embryo or fetus becomes a whole person. Including a frozen "pre-embryo" in that definition, some say, is only the latest development in a wider struggle over reconciling the law with scientific advances.

Jeffrey Kahn, director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Minnesota, recognizes the recent wrongful death suit as one step in a broader debate. He believes the "personhood" strategies used by abortion opponents, as well as the rapid advances in technologies like ultrasound, are having a cumulative effect on public perception.

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Catholics fight push by states for embryonic stem-cell research

Catholics fight push by states for embryonic stem-cell research

By Nancy Frazier O'Brien


Like many other states, Massachusetts is considering legislation that would promote embryonic stem-cell research, prohibit human reproductive cloning, and set rules for informed consent and ethical review of any such research.

"Our research community stands on the threshold of great advances in the fight against disabling childhood and degenerative diseases, but has been held back by cloudy legal policy on stem-cell research," said Senate President Robert E. Travaglini in introducing the legislation. "Massachusetts must act now to maintain its prominence in the industry."

Father Tadeusz Pacholczyk, a neuroscientist who is director of education at the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia, sees the rush to get in on embryonic stem-cell research as part of a "modern secular fairy tale."

People want to believe that science can "push back the frontiers of death itself," the priest of the Diocese of Fall River, Mass., said in an interview in his Philadelphia office. But the hopes of those promoting embryonic stem-cell research are "much bigger than what's supported by science," he added.

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Laser pioneer scoops religion prize

Laser pioneer scoops religion prize
9 March 2005

Charles Townes, who co-invented the laser, has become the fourth physicist in six years to win the £795,000 Templeton prize for science and religion. The prize is given by the Wall Street financier Sir John Templeton for "progress toward research or discoveries about spiritual realities". Townes -- a practising Christian -- has written numerous articles and papers about science and religion over the past 40 years. Previous winners of the prize include Freeman Dyson, Paul Davies, John Polkinghorne and George Ellis,

Born in 1915 in South Carolina, Townes grew up in a Baptist household that prized intellectual pursuits and vigorous debate about the Bible. He raced through the education system and graduated with degrees in physics and modern languages at the age of 19, before receiving a PhD from Caltech in 1939. After a war-time stint at Bell Telephone Laboratories in New York, Townes joined Columbia University in 1948. It was here in 1951 -- while sitting on a park bench -- that he had a moment of revelation.

Townes, who was using microwaves to study the structure of molecules, conceived a way of amplifying electromagnetic waves by the stimulated radiation emission. Coming like a bolt from the blue, Townes has repeatedly cited the event as a crystallization of how topics that are normally associated with religion or science -- revelation, intuition, observation, faith and aesthetics -- can easily apply to both disciplines. Townes helped to build the first working "maser" in 1954 and in 1957 he and his brother-in-law Arthur Schawlow at Bell Labs built the first "laser", which operated at visible wavelengths.

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Religion and science: Studies of faith

Embryonic stem-cell research is putting fresh strain on the already fractious relationship between science and religion.
TonyReichhardt explores how faith is shaping the ever-changing landscape of bioethics.

When Pope John Paul II addressed the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in 1992, he tackled yet again Galileo's famous battles with the Church four centuries ago. In his talk, entitled "Faith can never conflict with reason", the Pope was doing his best to mend fences. Although science and religion form "two realms of knowledge", he said, "the two realms are not altogether foreign to each other, they have points of contact".

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Australian Medical Council Concerned about Catholic Bias in Medical School

Catholic medical school bias concerns

CHARLIE WILSON-CLARK

The body approving Australia's first Catholic medical school is concerned about possible religious bias and inadequacies in the way doctors will be taught about ethical issues such as homosexuality, abortion and contraception.

Fremantle's University of Notre Dame received official accreditation from the Australian Medical Council yesterday, meaning the 80 students selected to start the four-year graduate course in February can now be told they have earned a place.

But the AMC's report identifies some problems for the university, which teaches compulsory units in theology, philosophy and ethics to all students.

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