Statement On Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research Released

Date: 07/01/1999

National List of Signers Named

Washington, D.C., July 1, 1999–A statement on human embryonic stem cell research was released today on Capitol Hill. The statement, signed by experts in the fields of law, science, medicine and ethics, disputed claims that embryo research is necessary to realize the potential benefits of stem cell research.

Entitled “On Human Embryos and Stem Cell Research: An Appeal for Legally and Ethically Responsible Science and Public Policy,” the statement outlined the reasons why embryonic stem cell research is problematic legally and ethically while arguing that scientific alternatives using adult stem cells are much more attractive.

The statement was released by four representatives of the group of signers. Nigel Cameron, Ph.D., Advisory Board Chairman, The Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity; Frank Young, M.D., Former Commissioner, U.S. Food and Drug Administration; Edmund Pellegrino, Ph.D., Director, Center for Clinical Bioethics, Georgetown University; and Richard Doerflinger, Associate Director of Policy Development, National Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Rather than objecting to all forms of stem cell research, the statement welcomed recent unprecedented advances which suggest that adult stem cell research and other exciting therapies offer an equal or greater potential benefit to treat or heal those suffering from disease. Signatories urged Congress to provide federal funding for the development of such alternatives that do not require the destruction of embryonic life.

“There are other legal and ethically more acceptable ways to tap into the vast potential of stem cell research without destroying any class of human life in the process. We welcome the benefits that adult stem cell research will bring to people in need without sacrificing other humans,” said Daniel McConchie, Operations Director for The Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity, one of the press conference organizers.

Some of the signers included C. Everett Koop, Former Surgeon General of the United States; Robert George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University; C. Christopher Hook, Director of Ethics Education, Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Medicine; and Arthur Dyck, Saltonstall Professor of Ethics, Harvard University.

A web site has been put together with information on this issue including the text of the statement, statement summary, list of signers, and an opportunity for people to show their support for the principles of the statement by signing onto it themselves. The address is: