United States Catholic Bishops' Conference pro-life committee chairman, Cardinal Justin Rigali, has denounced President Barack Obama's executive order allowing federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports the decision by the US President, Barack Obama, to end the ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research in the US has also drawn swift condemnation from the Vatican and has galvanised opposition from conservative Republicans.
Honouring an election promise, President Obama announced on Monday that funds would be freed up for stem cell research, reversing a directive put into effect by his predecessor, George Bush, when he took office in 2001.
President Obama signed the executive order before a group of scientists and doctors in a ceremony at the White House.
Zenit quoted Cardinal Rigali as saying "President Obama's new executive order on embryonic stem cell research is a sad victory of politics over science and ethics."
"This action is morally wrong because it encourages the destruction of innocent human life, treating vulnerable human beings as mere products to be harvested.
"It also disregards the values of millions of American taxpayers who oppose research that requires taking human life. Finally, it ignores the fact that ethically sound means for advancing stem cell science and medical treatments are readily available and in need of increased support."
The Vatican daily L'Osservatore Romano also criticised the decision, saying that "recognition of personal dignity must be extended to all phases of existence."
One Republican Congressman, Christopher Smith of New Jersey, called Mr Obama "the abortion president".
The Southern Baptist leader Richard Land said President Obama had "declared open season on unborn babies."
Stem-cell decision outrages Vatican and religious conservatives (Sydney Morning Herald)
Rigali denounces stem-cell reversal (CathNewsUSA)