“Stem Cell” — Many Meanings

Headlines and news itself are frequently misleading. Among recent examples is the celebratory announcement “Green light given to the world’s first stem cell treatment on humans.”

The accurate headline would have read, “Green light given to the world’s first human embryonic stem cell treatment on humans,” thus alerting the reader immediately that the intent of California’s biotech giant, Geron, is to kill younger human beings for the purpose of perhaps providing groundbreaking treatment to older human beings suffering from spinal cord injuries.

At this point there is no guarantee that the experimental treatment will bear fruit for the victim of the injury, but every guarantee that human beings will be killed so that the unproven procedure can be tested and applied.

A second headline addressing the same story “Human trials for embryonic stem cell treatment a crime, says Bishop Sgreccia” puts the subject in the proper moral perspective. The Vatican is continuing to expose the lies behind the cruel promises made by Geron’s experts—professionals who are willing to kill embryonic babies by denying that they are, in fact, anything more than leftover trash. Sgreccia defined the experiment as a moral crime regardless of whether it succeeds or fails.

Sgreccia stressed the fact, overwhelmingly denied in the secular media, that the use of human embryos in treatments should be rejected, “not only from the Catholic moral code but by whoever respects the human individual.”

At the same time that Geron was making its misleading pitch and the Vatican was attempting to set the record straight, another announcement came from Dr. Thomas Einhorn in a report entitled “Adult stem cell research far ahead of embryonic.”

While Einhorn’s work is at this juncture anecdotal, it should be of immense national interest. Einhorn treated a patient suffering from a broken ankle that was not healing. With a needle, he extracted bone marrow from the patient’s pelvic bone, reduced it to about four teaspoons of “rich red liquid,” and injected that into the patient’s ankle. In just four months the gentleman’s ankle had healed completely.

The most curious aspect of this single experience, as well as the others cited in the news report, is that success with ethical sources of stem cells have never received the national attention that is focused on the immoral practice of human embryonic stem cell research. It seems that the media is promoting snake oil salesmen who always fail to deliver while ignoring the real success stories that crop up constantly. Something is definitely wrong with this picture!

A final example tells the story. This disturbingly misleading headline, “Adult stem cells said to ‘forget’ retooling” invites attention to a report that is fraught with error. To begin, as Professor Dianne Irving pointed out, the Washington Times’ headline is inaccurate. The first is the factual error that the stem cells in question are not and never were “adult stem cells.” They are rather “induced pluripotent stem cells” (iPS). The difference between the two is stark: adult stem cells are never manipulated to become “pluripotent” whereas iPS stem cells are. What this means is that iPS stem cells can be deprogrammed and are, in fact, capable of being reverted back to new single-cell human embryos who would, in turn, be destroyed.

The other disturbing fact about what is missing from this news report is that, in order for iPS research to take place, “biological materials” are being used “that are derived originally from human embryos and human fetuses.”

Finally, Washington Times’ reporters even misquote Debra Vinnedge, founder of Children of God for Life. Though in this case, as Dr. Irving explains, reporters as well as the general public do not have the scientific background required in order to use precise language.

Clearly the two little words—stem cell—are being bandied about by folks who either have no understanding of the confusion they are creating or are intentionally misrepresenting facts for their own personal gain, be it financial or political.

Either way, by ignoring or denying that the human embryonic person is an individual worthy of respect, these manipulators of science and research are condoning direct killing without batting an eyelash. This is but another reason why America’s pro-life activist movement must achieve total protection for all human beings whose human rights are in constant jeopardy.

Human Personhood now!

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