Author Topic: GU to Continue Controversial Research  (Read 1020 times)

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Offline TomS

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GU to Continue Controversial Research
« on: January 30, 2004, 08:36:58 AM »
The letter last fall from an antiabortion group posed an unexpected quandary for Georgetown University Medical Center.

A Florida-based group wrote to Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington that some scientists at Georgetown, a Catholic university, were doing research using cells derived from aborted fetuses.

An in-house investigation verified the claim. But when 14 of the researchers involved said that ending the use of the cells in question would jeopardize years of work and funding, the matter was turned over to ethicists. In a recommendation that scholars said could mark a first in Catholic medical research in the United States, Georgetown has decided to let those researchers continue their work.

The Rev. Kevin T. FitzGerald, a university bioethicist, said he reasoned that the scientists did not know the cells had come from aborted fetuses when they began their work and should not be forced to abandon potentially lifesaving studies or risk forfeiting grants. The benefits to society, he said, far outweigh the harm done by using the cells, because the abortions were not performed for the purpose of providing the cells to scientists.

"The ideal would be not to be involved with [aborted fetal cells] at all," said FitzGerald, a Jesuit priest who holds a doctorate in molecular genetics. "Obviously, we don't live in an ideal world. We do the best we can."

Four other Georgetown researchers agreed to switch to other cell lines after determining they could do so without compromising their work. The medical center has removed the controversial frozen cell lines from its central repository on campus.

But those moves do not preclude a Georgetown researcher from using aborted fetal cells in the future if there are no alternatives. FitzGerald said each instance would have to be judged.


Full article:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A61643-2004Jan29.html

Offline jbc1949

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Re:GU to Continue Controversial Research
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2004, 11:51:56 AM »
First of all, Georgetown in many ways is Catholic in name only.  For example, in a recent speech at Georgetown, two Catholic "theologians" walked off the podium in objection to Cardinal Arinze's speech in which he was upholding Catholic teaching.  This "spirit" of dissent perhaps may pervade the entire university.

Second, I wonder if any "research" done by the Nazis on human subjects was used subsequently to WWII even though the origins of that research were immoral?  I can't imagine that those awful human experiments had much value to begin with.  If anything scientifically valid came out of those experiments then the results should have been destroyed otherwise it would in some perverse way validate the actions of those Nazi monsters.

The fact that university authorities did not immediately shut down research emanting from aborted fetal tissue, even the research that had some promising results, indicates to me a compromise with the culture of death in our Western society (not just the U.S.).

I don't place much credibility in those researchers who claim that they did not know where those cell lines came from.  The pedigree of a cell line is important to establish before doing further research if you are going to have reproducible results.  Give me a break!  


Offline katherine 2001

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Re:GU to Continue Controversial Research
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2004, 06:08:26 PM »
I have to admit that I have major problems with that decision.  I hope that maybe there will be such a stink over this decision that higher-ups will make the decision (maybe even Pope JP II, if there's enough bad publicity).  To make any exceptions is wrong.  There are plenty of other research facilities to do the same research that Catholic institutions shouldn't have to make any exceptions/compromises.  So much for the Bishops' statement of three years ago that Catholic colleges were going to have to abide by the teachings of the Catholic Church.  Any research facilities attached to the universities should have to abide by the teachings of the Catholic church also.  They should not be exempt from this.  I think they are maybe being motivated by the money and prestige that may be lost if these researchers have to give up this research.  However, shouldn't the teachings of the church (and on this topic especially) be more important?

Offline jbc1949

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Re:GU to Continue Controversial Research
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2004, 06:33:48 PM »
There are plenty of other research facilities to do the same research that Catholic institutions shouldn't have to make any exceptions/compromises.  So much for the Bishops' statement of three years ago that Catholic colleges were going to have to abide by the teachings of the Catholic Church.  

Responsio:

To quote a friend of mine from another forum, "Georgetown is Catholic? Since when?  

Jim C.