In a recent editorial, Richard Gallagher and Ivan Oransky conclude with the suggestion that "officials keep the human person of Pope John Paul II in view when crafting their next document. After all, Parkinson disease, which afflicted the late Pope, is one of the conditions for which stem cell research seems the most promising."1

To a large extent, this last point is true, but perhaps not in the way Gallagher and Oransky believe. Pope John Paul II, the recently deceased leader of the Catholic Church, was a strong supporter of human rights, and the respect due human life – at all stages of life. He would have been the first to refuse the destruction of human embryos to harvest stem cells in order to treat his condition. It would be a sound idea for the crafters of the next Catholic Church document regarding scientific research to keep this in...

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