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Resolution On Human Embryonic And Stem Cell Research

WHEREAS, Developments in human stem cell research have brought into fresh focus the dignity and status of the human embryo; and

WHEREAS, The National Bioethics Advisory Commission has called for the removal of the ban on public funding of human embryo research; and

WHEREAS, The Bible teaches that human beings are made in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:27; 9:6) and protectable human life begins at fertilization; and

WHEREAS, Efforts to rescind the ban on public funding of human embryo research rely on a crass utilitarian ethic which would sacrifice the lives of the few for the benefits of the many; and

WHEREAS, Current law against federal funding of research in which human embryos are harmed and/or destroyed reflects well-established national and international legal and ethical norms against misusing any human being for research purposes; and

WHEREAS, The existing law forbidding public funding of human embryo research is built upon universally held principles governing experiments on human subjects, including principles contained in the Nuremberg Code, the World Medical Association’s Declaration of Helsinki, the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, and other statements; and

WHEREAS, The use of human embryos in research would likely lead to an increase in the number of abortions and create a market for aborted embryos and other fetal tissues; and

WHEREAS, Some forms of human stem cell research require the destruction of human embryos in order to obtain the cells for such research and Southern Baptists are on record for their decades-long opposition to abortion except to save the physical life of the mother and their opposition to destructive human embryo research; and

WHEREAS, Exciting advances in human stem cell research are on the horizon which do not require the destruction of embryos, leading the British Medical Journal to state that the use of human embryonic stem cells “may soon be eclipsed by the more readily available and less controversial adult stem cells;” and

WHEREAS, Treatments for Alzheimer’s, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and a host of maladies may soon be within our reach without sacrificing human embryos.

Be it RESOLVED, that we, the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, June 15-16, 1999, reaffirm our vigorous opposition to the destruction of innocent human life, including the destruction of human embryos; and

Be it further RESOLVED, that we call upon the United States Congress to maintain the existing ban on the use of tax dollars to support research which requires the destruction of human embryos; and

Be it further RESOLVED, that we call upon those private research centers which perform such experiments to cease and desist from research which destroys human embryos, the most vulnerable members of the human community; and

Be it finally RESOLVED, that we encourage support for the development of alternative treatments which do not require human embryos to be killed.