Heart Association Drops Embryo Research

A donor backlash has stopped plans by the American Heart Association (AHA) to sponsor experimentation utilizing embryonic stem cells.

Last year, the AHA, like many organizations working to cure diseases, had embraced the new stem-cell technology in hopes of reducing disease. Now, though, the AHA has reversed plans it strongly affirmed last year," according to Bill Bryant, immediate past board chairman.

"We do not fund, and will not fund, embryonic stem-cell research," Bryant said. He said plans were halted when evidence of a backlash erupted-including loss of volunteers, loss of staff and loss of revenue."

"[It's] important that...in our zeal for research to benefit some members of our human family, we don't violate the human dignity and rights of others," said Debbie Schlaprizzi, a volunteer fundraiser. She told AHA leaders last year that she would not raise funds to support research that destroys human embryos. Catholic leaders echoed her appeals, including the archbishop of St. Louis.


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