Ministry Slammed for Stem Cell Comments

DENVER (AP) -- Critics demanded an apology Thursday from the founder of the Christian ministry Focus on the Family after he compared the ethics of embryonic stem cell research to Nazi experiments on Holocaust victims.

James Dobson made the comments Wednesday during his radio show, which reaches an estimated 220 million people worldwide.

Dobson was criticizing Sen. Bill Frist and others who support expanded stem cell research in hopes that stem cells one day could be used to replace cells damaged from such conditions as diabetes, spinal cord injury or Parkinson's disease.

Dobson and other opponents object to the research because embryos are destroyed to harvest the cells.

"We condemn what the Nazis did because there are some things that we always could do but we haven't done, because science always has to be guided by ethics and by morality," Dobson said. "And you remove ethics and morality, and you get what happened in Nazi Germany."

Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said Dobson should apologize.

"There is no legitimate comparison between stem-cell research, which seeks to find a cure for disease and to counter human suffering, and the perversion of science and morality represented by the actions of Nazi doctors who deliberately tortured their victims in medical 'experiments,'" Foxman said.

Dobson was not available for comment Thursday. Carrie Gordon Earll, senior analyst for bioethics for Focus on the Family, said Dobson would not apologize.

"The Nazi experiment analogy is accurate and appropriate," she said. "If any apologies are due, it is advocates of destroying embryonic humans who should be apologizing."

Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., called Dobson's remarks "extremely ignorant and insulting," saying they "diminish the enormity of the Nazis' atrocities and are an appalling distortion of the debate." link

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