Mt Soledad
Welcome to the
Christian Citizenship Council
of San Diego
San Diego
“When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan.” (Prov 29:2)

The Ten Great Myths regarding Stem Cell Research:

  1. Stem cells can only come from embryos. 
    The Truth:  In fact, stem cells can be taken from umbilical cords, the placentia, amniotic fluid, adult tissues and organs such as bone marrow, fat from liposuction, regions of the nose, and even from cadevers up to 20 hours after death.

  2. Christians should be against all stem cell research. 
    The Truth: There are four categories of stem cells:  embryonic stem cells, embryonic germ cells, umbilical cord stem cells, and adult stem cells.  Given that germ cells can come from miscarriages that involve no deliberate interruption of pregnancy, the church really opposes the use of only one of these four categories:  embryonic stem cells.  In other words, three of the four categories are acceptable for stem cell research.

  3. Embryonic stem cell research has the greates promise.  
    The Truth: Up to now, no human being has ever been cured of a disease using embryonic stem cells.  Adult stem cells, on the other hand, have already cured thousands.  There is the example of the use of bone marrow cells from the hipbone to repair scar tissue on the heart after heart attacks.  Research using adult cells is 20-30 years ahead of embryonic stem cells and holds greater promise.  This is in part because stem cells are part of the natural repair mechanisms of an adult body, while embryonic stem cells do not belong in an adult body (where they are likely to form tumors, and to be rejected as foreign tissue by the recipient).  Rather, embryonic stem cells really belong only within the specialized microenvironment of a rapidly growing embryo, which is radically different setting from an adult body.

  4. Embryonic stem cell research is against the law. 
    The Truth:  In reality, there is no law or regulation against destroying human embryos for research purposes.  While President Bush has banned the use of federal funding to support the research on embryonic stem cell lines created after August 2001, it is not illegal.  Anyone is free to pursue it even with government funding, as has been done in California with Prop 71. 

  5. President Bush created new restrictions to federal funding on embryonic stem cell research. 
    The Truth:  The 1996 Dickey Amendment prohibited the use of federal funds for research that would involve the destruction of human embryos.  Bush's decision to permit research on embryonic stem cell lines created before a certain due date thus relaxes this restriction.

  6. Therapeutic cloning and reproductive cloning are fundamentally different from one another. 
    The Truth:  The creation of cloned embryos either to make a baby or to harvest stem cells occurs by the same series of technical steps.  The only difference is what will be done with the cloned human embryo that is produced: will it be given the protection of a woman's womb in order to be born, or will it be destroyed for its stem cells?

  7. Somatic cell research nuclear transfer is different from cloning. 
    The Truth:  "Somatic cell nuclear transfer" is simply cloning by a different name.  The end result is still a cloned embryo.

  8. If some human embryos will remain in frozen storage and ultimately be discarded anyway, why is it wrong to get some good out of them? 
    The Truth:  In the end, we all die, but that gives no one a right to kill us.  Frozen embryos will not die because they are inherently unable to survive, but because others are choosing to hand them over for destructive research instead of letting them implant in their mother's womb. One wrong choice does not justify an additional wrong choice to kill them for research, much less a choice to make taxpayers support such destruction.  The principle of experimenting on human beings because they may die anyway poses a grave threat to convicted prisoners, terminally ill patients, and others.

  9. Haven't doctors, scientists, Hollywood stars, and commentators said that embryonic stem cell research will lead to the cure of many diseases? 
    The Truth:  Many have made this claim, which is false and entirely disengenious.  Embryonic stem cells have never treated a human patient, and animal trials suggest that they are to genetically unstable and too likely to form lethal tumors to ever be used for treatment.  Many supposed "experts" have said that stem cells from embryos would be the most useful because they are so fast-growing and versatile, able to make virtually any kind of cell.  But those advantages become disadvantages when these cells make tumors, creating a condition worse than the disease. Yet many supporters remain insistent on this approach, having invested a great deal of money and effort and hoping they can still make it work.  This kind of exaggerated promise has misled researchers and patient groups before - most obviously in the case of fetal tissue from abortions, which a decade ago was said to promise miracle cures and has produced nothing of the kind.

  10. Why do Christians oppose human cloning? 
    The Truth:  Cloning is a depersonalized way to reproduce, in which human beings are manufactured in the laboratory to preset specifications.  It is not a worthy nor God ordained way to bring a new human being into the world.  When done for stem cell research, it involves the moral wrong of all embryonic stem cell research (destroying an innocent human life for possible benefit to others) plus an additional wrong:  It creates human beings solely in order to kill them for their cells.  This is the ultimate reduction of a fellow human being to a mere means, to an instrument of other people's wishes.


1. "Stem Cell Research and Human Cloning:  Questions and Answers" Cardinal William Keeler, USCCB, (2004)