Embryos deserve “the dignity proper to a person,” the Vatican declared today in an uncompromising doctrinal declaration on reproductive science, its first in more than 20-years. The long-awaited document condemns everything from embryonic stem-cell research to human cloning to the morning-after pill, which falls “within the sin of abortion.” Human life, the church declared, “can never be reduced merely to a group of cells.”
Many treatments to help infertile couples also got a thumbs down. Artificial fertilization techniques, for example, “substitute for the conjugal act ... which alone is truly worthy of responsible procreation.” The long-awaited document updates a 1987 treatise by Benedict, then known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. “I hope it will make Catholics more aware that they should not be cooperating with these technologies,” said the president of the Catholic Medical Association.