392 • Part III. Christian Morality: The Faith Lived
standing for those who are facing difficult decisions, and her assistance
for all who choose life. People who have been involved with an abortion
are encouraged to get in touch with the Project Rachel ministry and other
ministries that enable them to seek the mercy of God in the Sacrament
of Penance and Reconciliation and to obtain the necessary counseling.
Pro-life ministries work with expectant mothers who are considering
abortion by encouraging them to choose life for their children. They also
provide alternatives to abortion through prenatal care, assistance in rais-
ing children, and adoption placement services.
fertilization is more appropriately treated in relation to
the integrity of the link between fertility and love, it deserves brief men-
tion here. This is because very often in the process, eggs that have been
fertilized and are beginning to grow as a human person are discarded or
destroyed. This action is the taking of human life and is gravely sinful.
Stem-Cell Research and Cloning
Every human body contains stem cells, undifferentiated cells that have
the potential to mature into a wide variety of body cells. They develop
early in the human embryo after fertilization or conception. They are
also found in the placenta, the umbilical cord, as well as in the adult
brain, bone marrow, blood, skeletal muscle, and skin. Scientists theorize
that these stem cells may be used for therapeutic purposes for curing
diseases such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s.
Some scientists, however, maintain that the best source for stem cells
is the human embryo. The moral problem is that in order to retrieve the
stem cells, the growing child must be killed. But every embryo from the
moment of conception has the entire genetic makeup of a unique human
life. The growing child must be recognized and treated as completely
and fully human. He or she needs only time to grow and develop. To
destroy an embryo is to take a human life, an act contrary to God’s law
and Church teaching.