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White House Bioethics Council Issues Paper on Stem Cell Research

The President’s Council on Bioethics, has just published a White Paper titled, "Alternative Sources of Human Pluripotent Stem Cells", which proposes methods of obtaining stem cells without destroying embryonic human beings.

The paper's Preface notes that "Much of the ethical controversy over stem cells derives from the fact that, until now, the only way to obtain human pluripotent stem cell lines has been to derive them from living human embryos by a process that necessarily destroys the embryos. If a way could be found to derive such stem cell lines without creating and destroying human embryos, a good deal of that ethical controversy would subside."

The Paper presents four proposals for obtaining stem-cells that would not involve destruction of embryonic human beings.

The President's Council on Bioethics was created by President George W. Bush on November 28, 2001. It is chaired by Leon Kass, of the University of Chicago and the American Enterprise Institute, and the panel has members known in the fields of medicine, philosophy, law and ethics, including Catholics Mary Ann Glendon of Harvard Law School, and Robert George of Princeton. The Council's purpose is to advise the President on bioethical issues related to advances in biomedical science and technology. In connection with its advisory role, the mission of the Council includes the following functions:

• To undertake fundamental inquiry into the human and moral
significance of developments in biomedical and behavioral science and
• To explore specific ethical and policy questions related to these
• To provide a forum for a national discussion of bioethical
• To facilitate a greater understanding of bioethical issues.

The complete paper, "Alternative Sources of Human Pluripotent Stem Cells" is
on the Council's web site:

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