Three largest U.S. religious denominations criticize stem cell research that destroys human embryos

Posted: Friday, August 03, 2001

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The United Methodist Church has urged one of its best-known members, President Bush, to maintain a moratorium on government-aided stem cell research using human embryos.

That view unites the three biggest U.S. denominations. The Roman Catholic Church and Southern Baptist Convention also oppose research that destroys human embryos.

James Winkler of the Methodists' Board of Church and Society, the church's social action agency, wrote Bush noting that the denomination last year urged a ban on human cloning and ''procedures that intentionally generate 'waste (human) embryos' which will knowingly be destroyed.''

Winkler said, ''The moral and ethical issues surrounding the beginning of life demand enormous caution in proceeding with activities that result in the destruction of human embryos.''

He opposed policies that turn ''life into a commodity to be manipulated, controlled, patented and sold.''

In June, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) assembly took a different view, endorsing use of embryo stem cells for research only if there are medical goals that cannot be achieved any other way, if embryo donations are kept separate from decisions to abort, and if commerce in human embryos is prohibited.

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