Dark Clouds Ahead

One of the first pieces of legislation passed by the US House of Representatives last week was a bill that would remove current limits on federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research. The vote was 253-174. Senate action on a similar bill is expected within a matter of months. Not surprisingly, pro-life advocates were quick to respond.

"The House voted to force all taxpayers to fund stem-cell research requiring the destruction of human embryos," said Richard Doerflinger, deputy director of the Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities at the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. "As in the past, President Bush had pledged to veto this misguided and unethical legislation and there are not enough votes to override that veto."

Doerflinger said Congress should turn its attention to stem-cell research that poses no moral problem and that is already beginning to help patients with dozens of conditions in clinical trials. "Unlike embryonic stem-cell research, research using stem cells from adult tissue, umbilical cord blood, amniotic fluid and other sources is showing enormous promise and is likely to produce new treatments for patients now living," he said.

"Most Americans support stem-cell research and most greatly prefer that this research advance without harming or destroying human life at any stage," Doerflinger said. "The truly statesmanlike approach to this issue would be to take up this challenge, supporting medical progress that all Americans can live with."

 "This vote is an example of politics trumping both morality and science," said Carrie Gordon Earll, Focus on the Family's senior analyst for bioethics. "It's never morally acceptable to destroy human life in research. In the history of medical experiments, some of the worst things imaginable have been done with the best intentions."

Earll said there is something wrong with the medical experiment if it purposefully threatens or destroys a human life. "In a civilized society, we must demand more," she said. "Thankfully, in the case of stem-cell research, we have ethical alternatives that are just as good, perhaps better, than the unethical ones."

Adult stem cells have been used in more than 1,000 human clinical trials and currently treat more than 70 conditions, Earll said. "Compare that to embryonic stem cells, which are not being used in any human trials and have not produced a single treatment or cure."

"Every lawmaker who voted against this bill supports stem-cell research, but not the kind that requires killing human embryos, and we commend them for that," said Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee. "The key lawmakers pushing this bill rejected an anti-human cloning amendment, which was one more proof that the biotech industry is determined to use human cloning to create human embryo farms."

If this type of legislation is a harbinger of things to come from the 2007 Congress, it does not bode well for pro-lifers across the country.

There is one bright spot though: One of the legislative issues being promoted by the Virginia Catholic Conference during the current Virginia General Assembly is the prohibition of the use of state funds for research that requires the destruction of human embryos or fetuses. The VCC wants an increase in state funding earmarked exclusively for the therapeutic use of stem cells obtained by using adult stem cells or stem cells from umbilical-cord blood.

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  • Guest

    Sen Sam Brownbeck has written several papers on stem cell research. His assertion is that adult stem cell research (which is very proven) is actually under-funded in this country. The result is that people go without treatments or are forced to go to other countries. This is truly sad.

    A true mark of a false religion is human sacrifice. Given the absence of any cures after 25 years of embryonic stem cell research, it seems rather evil to just keep on killing human embryos. To fund this instead of other known cures is bad science, bad policy. The only reason to knowingly do so is a desire to continue killing.

    Pray for innocent souls and pray for the souls of people who belong to the cults that insist on human sacrifice.

  • Guest

    One reason we have gotten to this place of evil as a societal imperative is because of the personal evil of oral contraceptive use. The “pill” can cause early abortions by interfering chemically with the thickening of the lining of the uterus. When this happens a human blastocyst cannot implant and thus dies and is flushed out with menstrual fluids. The parents never even knew they were pregnant (which is the way they want it…guilt free pleasure/hedonism)

    With widespread use of the pill–even among people who claim to oppose embryonic stem cell research–embryonic stem cell research is a natural consequence and logical (even if not a single cure has resulted–why not keep trying)

    If you’re contracepting, here’s another good reason to stop! Learn NFP. Check out http://www.ccli.org

    Also, this issue is instrinsically part of the larger abortion debate. Therefore, the pro aborts will NEVER let it go despite the dearth of cures. They need dead in vitro embryos in order to dehumanize the rest of us.

    Rejoicing in HOpe!

  • Guest

    Oh! Let me add that the IUD also acts to prevent implantation, therefore, it is also a precurser to widespread acceptance of abortion and embryonic stem cell research.