While we’re at it, Allen also nicely points out some aspects of the Catholic Church’s real position on stem cell research which you won’t likely be reading about in the New York Times:
—Pacholczyk organized his presentation in terms of what he called 10 “myths” in the debate over stem cells. They are:
—1. Stem cells can only come from embryos.
—In fact, Pacholczyk said, stem cells can be taken from umbilical cords, the placenta, amniotic fluid, adult tissues and organs such as bone marrow, fat from liposuction, regions of the nose, and even from cadavers up to 20 hours after death.
—2. The Catholic church is against stem cell research.
—There are four categories of stem cells, Pacholczyk said: 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, Pacholczyk said the church opposes the use of only one of these four categories, that is, embryonic stem cells. In other words, the Catholic Church approves three of the four possible types of stem cell research.
—3. Embryonic research has the greatest promise.
—Up to now, no human being has ever been cured of a disease using embryonic stem cells, Pacholczyk said. Adult stem cells, on the other hand, have cured thousands. Pacholczyk gave the example of the use of cells from the hipbone to repair scar tissue on the heart after heart attacks. Research using adult cells is 20 to 30 years ahead, he said, and holds greater promise.