Foes of stem cell research now face tough battle

I read a recent news article with the headline “Foes of stem cell research now face tough battle” by Kevin Freking, Associated Press Writer – Sun Nov 23, 12:05 pm ET

In the article, Dr. Chi Dang, professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, is quoted as saying, “The question is: Is it ethically more acceptable to destroy these embryos by pouring acid on them, or do you deploy these clusters of cells to create new cell lines that could benefit us in the future?”

From a Catholic perspective, what should we be doing in response to the thousands of babies created in petri dishes who are sitting on ice in fertility clinics all over the world? Since fertilization already occurred and life is “on hold” in a suspended state, what is the Church’s response to the situation?

The thought of killing these tiniest lives by pouring acid on them just makes me feel sick. So what morally, ethically correct alternatives exist?

Here’s my thought process:

  • killing these embryos is murder and cannot be condoned under any circumstances;

  • using these embryos as stem cell research is tantamount to the same thing;

Therefore, the only just answer is to have these embryos kept alive indefinitely until science can find a way of bringing these to life. Or God brings about judgement day. Or both.

To God, nothing is impossible!

I agree Ralwig, killing the children with acid kills them as equally as “using” them as spare parts to further “research.”

You raise an interesting question about keeping these little ones alive indefinately "until science can find a way of bringing them to life. . . . " . . . . so totally hypothetical question, suppose a fertility clinic was going out of business (Amen to that!) and had a deadline by which the fertilized embryos had to be removed from their offices . . . . . . . as Catholics, should we be supporting the idea that these children be implented in biological and/or surrogate mothers to get the chance at life???

I tend to favor the idea of using surrogate mothers- it is not far off from adoption, except the adoptive mother would be giving birth to the child as well. As far as I can see, there is no alternative left. Whether or not their creation was moral, these embryos exist, and they are human persons. We can’t kill them. We can’t cannibalize them. They deserve life, and unless someone manages to come up with a better idea, “snowflake” babies sound like the best idea. :shrug:

What annoys me is that while adult stem cells are more effective, stable and less likely to be rejected by the recipercant its embyronic SCs that are announced to be the cure of all our current ills.

Frankly, I think its morally repugnant for these lives to be created and destoryed for some supposed cure.

I think you are confusing research with developed therapies. What is fairly distinct about embryonic stem cells is that they can be differentiated, seemingly under direction, into almost any type of cell.

Somatic, or “adult” stem cells can typically only be differentiated into certain types of cells specific to their origin. We’ve know about adult stem cells for 40 years, but research largely stalled.

Although some folks would like to try to differentiate ‘good’ research from ‘bad’, they are intertwined. Much of the progress we are seeing in somatic cell research today is due to what has been learned from embryonic stem cell research.

You can read a bit about the field here:

stemcells.nih.gov/info/basics/basics1.asp

And the Church most assuredly agrees. The CDF and the bishops have issued numerous documents. However, we have to be careful in arguing that we can have our cake and eat it too. Our argument is on the basis of our belief about the infinite value of human life, not research effectiveness. Trying to make scientific proclamations when the whole field is in flux just clouds the moral issue and potentially leaves us at odds with demonstrable fact.

Embryonic research is immoral rather adult stem cells are a dead end or not.

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