Poll: Catholics Overwhelmingly Support Embryonic Stem Cell Research

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Staff Journalist

A new poll has found that three quarters of U.S. adults favor of embryonic stem cell research on “left over” embryos, with 69 percent of Catholics polled saying they believe researchers should be allowed to conduct the destructive research.

PharmaTimesOnline is reporting that the online poll, conducted by Harris Interactive and Scout News division of HealthDay, found that 72 percent of Americans favor the research.

Support among Catholics was surprisingly high at 69 percent, especially considering the efforts made by the U.S. bishops to educate the public about the destructiveness of the research. Protestants weighed in even higher, with 74 percent saying they believe the research should be allowed. Born-again Christians also reported surprisingly high favorable numbers at 66 percent.

Political affiliation was another major factor with 58 percent of Republicans and 82 percent of Democrats agreeing that the research should be allowed. Seventy-three percent of Independents were also in favor.

The polling comes at a crucial time in the political debate over whether the research should be allowed – and who should fund it. Just last month, a U.S. District Judge ruled that President Obama’s executive order lifting a ban on federal funding of the research was in violation of a 1986 law and put a halt on further research. The Department of Justice was able to appeal the ruling and win a temporary stay of the injunction, but the future of embryonic stem cell research in the U.S. has yet to be decided.

The Catholic Church, which has always opposed embryonic stem cell research because it involves the destruction of human life, is a staunch supporter of adult stem cell research which is much further advanced, less risky, and already in use in the treatment of more than 100 conditions.

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