The Catholic Church is against stem cell research being encouraged as a field of scientific research in the UK as it is gravely immoral and unnecessary. While the Church embraces science as an invaluable service to the integral good of life and dignity of every human being, it can never come at the expense of the weakest amongst us. Science must follow moral guidelines to be “at the service of man”, not vice versa.
Stem cell research requires the destruction of living cells- a notion that life is just a commodity created for experimentation. Once we cross this line that protects our dignity, there would be no stopping point. The Catholic Church holds the highest regard for life from the beginning of life till death. The only moral stand that affirms our dignity is to oppose the first step down this path. Experimentation on humans does not conform to his/her rights and dignity if it takes place without his/her informed consent or those who legitimately speak for him/her. While some may argue that “any harm done is outweighed by potential benefits”, such as treating diabetes, such benefits are unproven and a false assumption that a good end can justify direct killing has been the source of much evil in our world. On the claims that an embryo is “too small and undeveloped to be considered a ‘human life’ or “too lacking in mental or physical abilities to have full human worth or rights,” modern embryology has proven that the embryo is a living, complete, integrated, self-directing member of the human species who will, if given the proper environment, move itself along a trajectory of development to the next mature stage. All human beings possess an equal moral worth and dignity, regardless of age, condition of vulnerability or dependence, circumstance, or the value of their life as judged by others, therefore human embryos should be granted the same rights.
Ultimately each of us will die, but that does not give anyone the right to kill us. Our society does not permit lethal experiments on terminally ill patients or condemned prisoners on the pretext that they will soon die anyway. Likewise, the fact that an embryonic human is at risk of being abandoned by his or her parents gives nobody a right to directly kill him/her first.
Therefore, based on the criteria of human rights and equality, we oppose to stem cell research being encouraged as a field of scientific research.