Filipino bishop urges donors not to support stem cell research

DPA Manila | Updated on August 27, 2014

A Philippine Catholic bishop Wednesday urged donors to research on Lou Gehrig’s Disease to ensure that their money does not go to unethical studies involving stem cells.

The “pastoral guidance” was issued as more Filipinos take part in the viral fundraising ice bucket challenge for Lou Gehrig’s Disease or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a degenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.

Archbishop Socrates Villegas said donors must “make a clear and unequivocal declaration that their donation is made on condition that none of it is applied to research that involves the use of embryonic stem cells in vitro.” “Catholics who participate in the challenge and who make donations to this research must also demand of fund-raisers and organizers an assurance that none of the donations made will be applied to researches that are ethically reproved,” he added.

Villegas said that as long as the research was ethical, the Church would even encourage Catholics to donate, noting, “The importance of ALS research cannot be overstated. Research must proceed, for so many suffer.” Several top government officials, business leaders and other Filipino personalities have recently taken up the ALS ice bucket challenge, drenching themselves in cold water to raise money for research on the illness.

Published on August 27, 2014

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