By Cliff Peale
The Cincinnati Enquirer
The Archdiocese of Cincinnati is criticizing Procter & Gamble Co. for a new policy on stem-cell research that would allow use of embryonic stem cells if it was "the only feasible means to gain a very significant health-care benefit."
While Cincinnati-based P&G does not use embryonic stem cells in its research and has no plans to do so, the new policy does not prohibit that type of research.
An article in this week's Catholic Telegraph, which is published by the archdiocese, included a statement opposing the policy from Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk.
"P&G's policy on stem-cell research seems to be saying that, if necessary for the development of products judged useful by the company, the company will engage in or take advantage of in vitro procedures that yield new human stem-cell lines," he said in the story. "... This is a misuse of human life - no matter how praiseworthy its intent might be."
After consulting with bioethicists, religious leaders and consumers, P&G developed the policy during the last year and put it into effect within the last several months. One P&G employee, Julia Wagner of Mount Healthy, received the policy and contacted leaders at Assumption Parish, according to the Telegraph.
"The policy was in direct conflict with my faith," she told the newspaper. Ms. Wagner could not be reached for comment Friday.
The church has not objected to stem-cell research using tissues from consenting adults but does object to using embryos or fetal tissue, the article said. The policy does not rule out that type of research.
The subject received national debate last year when President Bush limited federal funding to lines already in existence. Supporters contend stem cells could help produce breakthrough medical treatment, while opponents claim it is wrong to use human embryos for research.
The P&G policy calls for embryonic stem-cell research only when there are no other alternatives, spokesman Terry Loftus said. .
Archdiocese spokesman Dan Andriacco said officials there would like to meet with P&G to discuss the policy.
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