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Stem Cells: May 11, 2004

Embryonic Research and Abortion

Unborn childAbortion has slowly taken an amazing turn and is now performed in the laboratory for the purpose of medical research aimed at curing disease.

Washington Post

The scientific and political tug of war over human embryo research escalated yesterday as new research backed the controversial contention that stem cells from embryos have greater potential to cure diabetes than stem cells from adults

Associate Press

Celebrities including Nancy Reagan, Dustin Hoffman, Michael J. Fox and Larry King raised $2 million for stem-cell research Saturday night at a gala for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The money is part of nearly $20 million that the foundation is donating to advance stem-cell research.

Stem cells are typically taken from days-old human embryos. Because the human embryos are destroyed when the stem cells are extracted, the process is highly controversial.

Salon

Medical research is poised to make a quantum leap that will benefit sufferers from Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, muscular dystrophy, diabetes and other diseases. But George W. Bush's religious convictions stand in its way.

You either believe that very early-stage human embryos -- embryos that are just several days old -- deserve special "moral consideration" and should not be used for research, or you do not.

To scientists in the field, it's obvious that the president's current policy allowing for federal funding of research on only a small number of stem cell lines -- a policy conceived as a safe middle ground -- is quickly becoming untenable.

The statement above is honest. Considerations about stem cell research and more fundamentally about what constitutes human life are based upon beliefs. Science tells nothing about what constitutes life. Religion and philosophy are much more pertinent to questions about value and the definition of life. As a result, one has to wonder what is the belief system of the scientists who have found the president’s current policy "untenable" for "obvious" reasons. This might help define the trajectory of medical research as it “progresses”.

One frightening “progression” is the legal harvesting of stem cells.

WASHINGTON (AFP)

Parents with children who have bone marrow disorders were able to have babies selected as embryos for their ability to donate stem cells to help their sick siblings, a medical journal reported.

From a total of 199 embryos, scientists selected 45, with 28 embryos finally implanted. Five babies were born as a result.

President Bush, while mocked by scientists, has stated, "I also believe human life is a sacred gift from our creator. I worry about a culture that devalues life, and believe as your president I have an important obligation to foster and encourage respect for life in America and throughout the world.”

The majority of Americans either disagree with the president or do not equate the life of an embryo to a human life.

Lifenews

A poll conducted by the Genetics and Public Policy Center at The Johns Hopkins University revealed that a majority of Americans approve of genetic selection of embryos to produce a perfect donor for a sick older sibling.

Daniel McConchie, director of public relations and public policy for The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity, echoed Doerflinger's sentiments.

"These experiments reflect the growing cultural tendency to only value human life that offers some concrete contribution to human existence," said McConchie. "The act of choosing some lives over others entirely because of their genetic makeup is dehumanizing."

The Christian Medical Association (CMA) also decried the practice as crossing the line into eugenics.

"We who are physicians have dedicated our lives to healing patients like these ailing children," said David Stevens, M.D., executive director of the CMA.

Finally, I consider a statement by Pro-Life Wisconsin

The so-called “designer children” experiments reported in the latest JAMA degrade the essence of humanity. The concept distills and demeans the value of a human being to nothing more than a compatible tissue match. If the embryo is a match, it can be implanted in the mother’s uterus and may grow into a source of compatible transplant material for a sick sibling. If not a match, it’s discarded or destroyed by using it in other “research.” We cannot allow the value of a person to depend upon whether that person can be used by another.

Posted by tim at May 11, 2004 12:44 AM




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Here is a recent posting on research involving human embryos. A central idea is that the humanity of the pre-born is outside the realm of science and must be [Read More]

Tracked on May 12, 2004 11:22 AM

Comments

IT’S ALL IN THE NUMBERS:

My daughter has Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes.

She takes 1480 shots per year.

She pricks her fingers 1825 times per year for blood glucose testing.

The drug companies that sell the Insulin, the Gizmos and Gadgets are making $$$ millions on this disease.

But for her, there is no cure.

If she had cancer, at least she could hope to be cured – or to at least skip medicine for a day.

Why not Stem Cell Research?

PLEASE…Support for Stem Cell Research in the U.S. for all diseases

We are asking all religous leaders for their support. If your religious leader supports stem cell research and can provide his/her name, city and state for this worthy cause, please let us know. Thank You.

Posted by: b. cole at July 4, 2004 8:51 AM

I understand and sympathize with the difficutly and anxiety associated with diabetes, especially when children are afflicted by the disease. The testing and treatment involve pain that I wish upon no child. The reason for not supporting embryonic stem cell research is simply that it involves the taking of a human life. I am also concerned that false expectations for disease cures have been promoted on the basis of highly optimistic conjectures in an attempt to secure research funding.

Posted by: bLogicus at September 2, 2004 1:38 AM




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