Why is the Church against stem cell research, especially if it offers the possibility of cures for diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s?
Like so many issues, the truth about stem cell research is more complicated than a few sound bites and vague promises of cures. For the Church, the problem is with embryonic stem cell research, not the research itself. The destruction of human life, even for a seemingly noble cause, is never acceptable. The ends cannot justify the means. Stem cells can be obtained in other ways, including from the placenta as well as from adults. So research is possible without the destruction of other life.
On the other hand, stem cell research shows much promise, but no concrete results. Some scientists also dispute what diseases might be cured by new discoveries. The research is still in its early stages. The question for our country is whether we should invest a lot of money in research now, looking for cures that will probably remain out of reach for most people, or should we invest that money in other programs with more immediate benefits, especially those that stress prevention and education. It is indeed a complex issue that requires close scrutiny and investigation before we jump to inaccurate conclusions or make decisions based on good, but misinformed, intentions.