The Compass: Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay
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August 10, 2001 Issue
Editorial

Telling the difference

Stem cells come from different sources


By Patricia Kasten
Compass Associate Editor

He didn't say no stem cell research, just no embryo stem cell research.

Most commentators on Pope John Paul's visit with Pres. Bush about stem cell research don't seem to know there's a difference between embryonic and adult stem cells. They conclude the pope denounces any stem cell research.

But the Vatican, on Nov. 6, 2000, said "adult stem cells represent a more reasonable and humane method for making correct and sound progress in this new field of research and in the therapeutic applications which it promises" (Declaration on the Production and the Scientific and Therapeutic Use of Human Embryonic Stem Cells).

Adult stem cells come from live donors -- ideally, the recipient. Embryonic stem cells come from dead donors -- sometimes created just for their cells.

That was the pope's concern when he told Pres. Bush, "Experience is already showing how a tragic coarsening of consciences accompanies the assault on innocent human life in the womb, leading to accommodation and acquiescence in the face of ... proposals for the creation for research purposes of human embryos, destined to destruction in the process."



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