Respect Life Committee

9622 – 20th Ave SW

Seattle, WA 98106




                                                                                                                                                March 16, 2005                                                                                              



Dr. Leroy Hood

Institute for Systems Biology

1441 N 34th St

Seattle, WA 98103-8904


Dear Dr. Hood,


On March 25 (Good Friday) a group of us will hold a peaceful prayer service in front of the Institute for Systems Biology.  Since you are the founder and president of this institution, I am sending you this letter to briefly explain our purpose and to invite you to a dialogue on these issues.


First, let me assure you we have great respect for the potential of scientific research, especially utilizing adult stem cells, to diagnose, prevent and treat various human diseases.  Our concern is not with morally legitimate experimentation, but with the Institute’s promotion of experiments which utilize and destroy human embryos.  ISB’s website indicates this will be a part of its approach to “preventive medicine.” To treat human embryos in this manner is analogous to the early history of our country when it was legal to own, use and even dispose of other humans at their master’s whim.  The system continued because of the self-deception of the slave owners and also because of the collaboration of many other people and institutions.


Dr. Hood, you have made many public statements defending this type of research and, in doing so, you have caricaturized those who oppose this utilization of human embryos.  For example, you said that the major societal issue is: “How will society balance the narrow religious dictates of the few against the virtually unlimited potential medical opportunities for the many presented by controversial areas (in the United States) such as embryonic stem cells?”  Also you have attacked the “religious right” for putting “pathetic constraints on what we can do.”  Since this type of research is not illegal, I assume that the constraints you refer to is opposition to government funding of embryonic research.  To label such opposition as the “religious right” motivated by “narrow religious dictates” is hardly fair to the seriousness of those who are concerned about the direction this research is taking us as a society. 


The concern becomes even clearer when we begin talking about cloning humans.  You have been an outspoken advocate of the Washington State’s House Bill1268.  As you know, it is deceptively referred to as the “anti-cloning bill” because it would not allow a cloned human to be brought to birth. However, it does permit human cloning (“somatic cell nuclear transfer") and the farming of cloned fetuses. 


On Good Friday, which this year falls on March 25 (Feast of the Annunciation, that is the day of Jesus’ conception, the beginning of his human existence) we will hold a peaceful prayer vigil to focus our own prayers on what we consider one of the most crucial matters which faces our society.  We will pray for you, for the employees of the Institute for Systems Biology – and for all those who are sincerely struggling with these vital questions.  I would also welcome an opportunity to meet personally with you to discuss this.



Sincerely yours,




Fr. Phillip Bloom


Documentation of Dr. Hood's Statements

On the Nature of the Embryo by D. McManaman

Homily mentioning Dr. Hood

Good Friday Service for Life vs. Dr. Leroy Hood's Support of Cloning & Embryonic Stem Cell Research

From Bishop Wuerl:

While stem cell research may not be at the top of the list of concerns that many of us face in our day-to-day life, it is nonetheless of such significance that we all need to understand fully its realities as well as its consequences. Decisions made now could establish a principle that asserts and endorses that we are free to use the drastic means of taking another human life, if we deem that the end result justifies that dire action. To concede that the end even if it is potential relief to long-standing illnesses and injuries justifies the means is to send our children and grandchildren headlong down a slippery slope on a moral toboggan with neither a steering bar or brakes.

And from Peter Singer (a Yale professor who wants to lead us further down the slippery slope):

The dispute is no longer about whether it is justifiable to end an infant's life if it won't be worth living but whether that end may be brought about by active means, or only by the withdrawal of treatment.