Excellent Responses to a Misguided Letter to the Editor

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A man I am fairly acquainted with from Columbia Missouri, who is paralyzed from the shoulders down, wrote a very misguided letter to the editor in the Kansas City Star last week saying:

Opponents of stem-cell research are now masquerading as being “pro-cures.” The truth is that not only do they seek to repeal the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of Missouri doctors to use the new frontier of stem-cell research to find cures, but they seek to repeal the freedom that people suffering from disease now have to decide their own medical care.

I have lived with a spinal-cord injury that has left me paralyzed from the shoulders down since 1989. I believe people should have the right to use their own DNA such as from cheek cells, and an unfertilized egg to make a genetically matched stem-cell treatment to cure the disease that afflicts them.

I truly respect that other people may have a different point of view. I support those who would choose to refuse a cure for themselves using this procedure, but I also believe they do not have the right to make that personal choice for others.

Research is like a tree. When planted, we do not know what shape the tree will take and what it’ll look like. We do not know which branch of the limb will bear fruit. If the limb is cut off, all of the future branches from that limb are lost forever. We should protect the tree of research and give people the choice to use the cures that come from it.

One astute stem cell commenter (bmmg39 (also known as Brian), who frequently comments on this blog), dutifully pointed out to Pund that the research he is talking about involves the intentional creation and destruction of embryonic human life. Other people accurately, and creatively, pointed out the wastefulness of spending so much money on such ineffective research, when effective and ethical alternatives are clearly available:

–Instead of wasting money on something that has consistently shown nothing to justify continued funding, use that money on the lines of research that ARE showing results. If a few believe that putting tin foil on top of their heads is going to cure cancer, should we set up billions of tax dollars for continuing research? How much is enough before it’s finally defined as wasted research funds? How much must be wasted pouring it down that hole?…

–Picture two mining operations. The first is worked by willing participants, the second by powerless slaves. The former consistently discovers gold, the latter only fool’s gold(mutations). Which one would you fund? The pharmaceutical companies long ago realized that Embryonic(also disguised as Early)Stem Cell Research was a dead end. They weren’t going to keep shoveling their money down that bottomless pit. But they don’t have any qualms of throwing your’s and my money down that pit as long as it’s given to them on an endless supply of silver platters…

–The cruelest lie of all is making people like Mr. Pund believe that cures for chronic injuries such as his through embryonic stem cell research and human cloning are imminent.

Meanwhile, promising human clinical trials on spinal cord repair are already underway in Portugal using a patient’s own adult stem cells.

Sadly, Bob is just one example of the many people who are easily persuaded by the deceit of those pushing for the advancement of this unethical area of science. It is good and noble to want to ease so much suffering here on earth. But it does not justify unrestricted scientific research which involves the deliberate creation and destruction of human life.

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