Orthodox Union Applauds National Institutes of Health’s New Stem Cell Guidelines


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Nathan Diament
202-513-6484
July 7, 2009

UNION OF ORTHODOX JEWISH CONGREGATIONS APPLAUDS NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH’S NEW STEM CELL GUIDELINES

Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (the “Orthodox Union”), the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, applauded the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) new guidelines that will allow ethically secured stem cells from the Bush era to be used under the new Obama era ethical guidelines, albeit subject to an NIH inspection prior to use.

Announcing the new guidelines, Raynard S. Kington, the acting director of NIH, said that during the Bush years, privately funded researchers in the United States and a number of foreign laboratories had used a variety of protocols to obtain informed consent and meet other ethical requirements. He said it did not make sense to reject those stem cell lines merely because the ethics procedures used were different from the procedures that are required for new stem cell lines.

The Orthodox Union has long been a leading proponent of public support for therapeutic stem cell research within a context of vigorous ethical guidelines and oversight.
(See: http://www.ou.org/index.php/public_affairs/article_cat/C587/)

Nathan Diament, the Orthodox Union’s director of public policy, issued the following statement:

The Jewish tradition places great value upon human life and its preservation. The Torah commands us to treat and cure the ill and to defeat disease wherever possible; to do this is to be the Creator’s partner in safeguarding the created. The traditional Jewish perspective thus emphasizes that the potential to save and heal human lives is an integral part of valuing human life. Stem cell research is consistent with and serves these moral and noble goals.