Vatican Denounces Fertilization Treatments and Stem Cell Research

The Vatican issued a comprehensive doctrinal ethics guide Friday that reaffirms opposition to contraception, in vitro fertilization, embryonic stem cell research, genetic testing, and cloning. The document, entitled Dignitas Personae, also prohibits use of the morning after pill, intrauterine devices, and mifepristone.

The Digitas Personae is the Vatican’s first authoritative statement on reproductive science in 21 years and it upholds previous documents issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican’s highest rule-making office. It is intended to be used as a guide by church officials, medical professionals, scientists, researchers, rulemakers, and for practicing Roman Catholics.

Thomas H. Murray of the Hastings Center told the Washington Post that the guide “is significant in the sense that the church has now laid down a marker on these important issues….The church has now dug in and committed itself to an official position.”


Washington Post 12/13/08; Digitas Personae; New York Times 12/12/08

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