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Right To Life opposes U-M stem cell use in Lou Gehrig's disease treatment trial

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Maria Morell
University of Michigan

Right to Life of Michigan is criticizing a University of Michigan research project that will use fetal stem cells.

U of M announced this week it will lead a clinical trial looking at a potential treatment for ALS -- known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

The nerve disease often kills people within three to four years after diagnosis.

Ed Rivet of Right To Life of Michigan says the stem cells U of M will inject into ALS patients come from an aborted fetus. The group is opposed to that and to embryonic stem cell research.

"That's a lot of ethical steps that 25 or 30 years ago people said, 'Oh, we'll never do anything  like that, but here we are today doing exactly that,'" Rivet says.  "All of us were embryos, and they're human embryos as well, and they should not be discarded, and they should not be used as research material because they're human beings.

Rivet says Right To Life believes fetal research should be allowed only after miscarriage or natural death, and then for limited purposes.

In a written statement, the University said the fetal tissue to be used in its clinical trial was obtained with the mother's consent more than a decade ago.