With the new Congress marching behind Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the issue of embryonic stem cell research again resurfaces. Although President Bush previously vetoed legislation that would have allowed this, a majority of Congress is now working to lift this ban. While proponents for this specific type of stem cell research point to the possibility that it could lead to medical breakthroughs, many, including myself, find the practice unethical as it involves the destruction of human life.
To do this research, scientists fertilize a human egg through in vitro fertilization and then allowing it to grow into a multi-cellular organism. Once the tiny human matures to the point it would normally attach itself to its mother’s uterus, researchers blast it apart in order harvest its stem cells. Despite noble intentions, precious human life is destroyed.
Adult stem cell research, however, relies upon harvested stem cells from consenting adults and does not destroy human life. Scientists have already reaped benefits from this line of research. Furthermore, we have yet to explore the stem cells in umbilical cords and animals.
Our closest genetic relative, the chimpanzee, develops in a remarkably similar way to humans. Research using primate embryos would undoubtedly yield nearly the same, if not identical results. In seeking to find cures for our diseases, we cannot rashly offer a holocaust of human embryos to the gods of science. We want to alleviate suffering wherever possible, but never at the expense of our world’s most precious resource – our unborn children.
Alan Cyr, Lewiston