Recent writings commenting on Dignitas Personae regarding the use of aborted fetal and embryonic cells by researchers are under fire by pro-life group, Children of God for Life. Executive Director, Debi Vinnedge who has praised the 2008 document approved by Pope Benedict XVI for its precise teachings on immoral research, says the writer owes Catholic scientists an apology.
The problem began with a brief in December 2010, May Researchers Use "Biological Material" Unjustly Obtained? (see culture-of-life.org//content/view/684/111/) in which Senior Fellow William E. May opined on Sections 34 and 35 of the Church directive.
Mr. May contended that Dignitas Personae provides "exceptions" allowing researchers to use "illicitly obtained biological materials". However, a careful reading of the Church instruction states the complete opposite.
A second article appeared in ZENIT January 12, 2011 as a question that was answered by Mr. May, titled Using Vaccines Obtained From Intentionally Aborted Human Embryos – Further Clarification Needed for Parents, Researchers. www.zenit.org/article-31437?l=english
"Mr. May uses the same concluding arguments in both articles, citing Dignitas Personae, yet the two are completely different situations," stated Ms. Vinnedge. "And in each one, he is misstating the facts."
In both publications May cites from the writings by Christian Brugger, who opines that Dignitas Personae and the Pontifical Academy for Life's, Moral Reflections on Vaccines Prepared from Cells Derived from Aborted Human Fetuses do not provide sufficient guidelines for researchers using aborted fetal or embryonic cell lines.
In three of its eight pages, that document expounded on their use by researchers, physicians and parents, concluding it was illicit for researchers. Parents, on the other hand, who have no voice in the decision to use aborted fetal cell lines in vaccine production, might have proportionate reasons to do so.
Incredibly, May states these cell lines could "provide great benefit to unborn humans," thus concluding it is morally licit for researchers to use them under Dignitas Personae's "exceptions."
"There are no "exceptions" for researchers, as moral options exist," noted Vinnedge. "It's unfortunate Mr. May thinks otherwise, because many Catholic scientists are taking the Church teachings to heart and turning to moral research."
Vinnedge has written an eight page response to May's article titled, Twisting the Truth on Dignitas Personae, www.cogforlife.org/dp.pdf citing the unambiguous proof of the Church teaching in both documents.