Thursday, January 04, 2007

Supporting Stem Cell Research is Pro-Lives

In an editorial in today's Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/03/AR2007010301625.html), Robert Novack discusses whether the seven "pro-life Democratic" Senators will vote against stem cell research legislation in the upcoming Congress.

When the new Congress convenes, the new Democratic majority is likely to vote early on to pass stem cell research, legislation that was vetoed by President Bush in the last session. It is expected that they have the votes this year to override a Presidential veto, but it may hinge on these seven members.

But, the current federal restrictions on embrionic stem cell research seem anything but pro-life to me. Almost all of us have family members who are suffering from conditions that might be helped by this line of research. My step-father is one of them. His condition is getting worse, and life is becoming more of a struggle for him and my mother.

Stem cell research could ultimately save not only lives but the day-to-day quality of those lives. Surely supporting it is the true pro-life position.

8 comments:

Bill Baar said...

Do you believe human-embryos without humanity? That we can destroy a human-embryo to provide a therapy for another human being?

One can be a plain old humanist and find some real obstacles in this issue.

Cassandra said...

Ditto, Bill. This issues hinges on whether you think an embryo is a human being or not. If so, then it's human body part trafficking, a grave moral no-no in most people's books. Even if you're not sure that an embryo is human, why would you chance it with something as precious as a life? If a hunter sees movement behind a bush, he doesn't shoot at it without first ensuring there's an animal behind it. Even if he were mostly sure, it would be negligent not to do so as the chance of killing another human is too great.

Sparki said...

Unfortunately EMBRYONIC stem cell research has produced NO workable therapies...only the death of a lot of embryos.

Meanwhile adult stem cell research has produced more than 70 real, honest-to-goodness treatments or cures. And there is an abundance of these cells available to us -- most get incinerated as human waste, unfortunately, because after the birth of every baby, umbilical cords are full of these wonderful cells.

IMHO, there's no need for embryonic stem cell research when we haven't even begun to tap into the full potential of the abundance of so-called adult stem cells that we have available to us.

Bill Baar said...

Cassandra and Sparki,

Thank you for making me feel a little less alone on this topic.

Rev. Debra W. Haffner said...

Cassandra is right -- our viewpoints about this depend on when in fetal development we think a human life begins. As I understand it, embryonic stem cells are four or five day old blastocysts made up of between 50 - 150 cells. They are not, in my mind, persons. Moreover, there are now hundreds of thousands of frozen embryos in storage that will never become human lives. A couple undergoing IVF procedures has the option of having the excessembryos discarded, frozen, in rare cases adopted, or donated for research. I believe that many many couples would chose research rather than these options as their own moral choice. In terms of Sparki's comments, as I understand it (and I am not an expert in this), adult stem cells are limited in their usefulness for research in a way that embryonic stem cells may be not. One of the reasons that there aren't workable therapies is that the US has prohibited the research on all but a limited number of adult lines.

For readers who would like to learn more about the varying sides of this issue, go to www.religioustolerance.org/res_stem.htm

Bill Baar said...

Cassandra is right -- our viewpoints about this depend on when in fetal development we think a human life begins.

Oh Dr. but that's not what Cassandra said. She wrote,

This issues hinges on whether you think an embryo is a human being or not.

If one believes the human embryo has humanity, it must be from the moment it becomes a embryo: it's conception; not conecption plus 5.

If we accept the embryo's humanity, then it is worthy of a respect we must give all humanity regardless of what stage development or lack of development or social worthlessness it finds itself.

Anonymous said...

Ok Folks..take a look at this news bulletin...now what do we think?

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070107/ap_on_he_me/stem_cells_4

So if we do end up with the ability to get the cells from the amniotic fluid, do we still have a religious and moral issue?

Cassandra said...

anonymous...this is the kind of research I encourage. I'm not opposed to ethical science.