Yesterday’s hearing on stem cell research had testimony on why the federal government should/should not expand funding for embryonic stem cell research almost solely based on the promise/effectiveness of ESC research vs. adult. But that’s not the point. Human cloning and ESC research shouldn’t be funded by the federal government because it is unethical, period! This must be our main focus in the debate about whether or not to use or fund the use embryos for scientific research!
Pointing out the ineffectiveness of using ESCs so far is important and it helps to call to mind the fact that alternative resources exist, but there is still a very real possibility that ESC research could live up to the hype surrounding it. In which case, it is not really a question of science (can this research be done), but of ethics (should it be done).
Therefore we must focus on these key points if we are going to answer this question:
–From the start, the embryo (or zygote or blastocyst) is distinct from any cell of the mother or the father.
–It is human in its genetic makeup.
–It is a complete organism, though immature, and unless prevented by disease or violence, will develop into the mature stage of a human being.
–Destroying human embryos in order to obtain stem cells for research or medical treatment is in essence killing one class of human beings to benefit others.
We’ve all heard the heartbreaking testimony of those who are desperate for cures and relief from their suffering, but hard cases and lofty goals don’t justify the use and destruction of human life, no matter how small or insignificant.
I am not a doctor or a scientist, but I am a human being and I can tell you for a fact that at one point in my life I was an embryo, and before that a blastocyst, and before that zygote. These, along with others like infant, toddler, child, teenager and adult are merely words used to define the various stages of the same human life, one whose nature (human) remains constant from the very moment of conception. Intentionally destroying life at any of these stages, no matter how noble that intention may be, greatly diminishes the value of all human life and is wrong.
Personally I would love to be able to walk again and to see the sufferings of others diminished, but, I could never accept the harvesting of another human life, no matter how small, for some small earthly comfort.
See: Life at 4 Cells Old
When Technical Progress Becomes a Threat
Live Life, Love Life and Honor Terri Schiavo