Guest Commentary 4
David N. Bass
earlier this week that researchers at Wake Forest University and Harvard
Medical School have uncovered a new non-controversial stem cell
treatment did nothing to stem the tide of pro-embryonic stem cell
madness that swept Congress on Thursday.
a vote that still fell well short of the two-thirds majority required to
overcome a presidential veto, the U.S. House passed H.R. 3 by a 253 to
174 margin on Jan. 11. The bill would lift restrictions established by
President Bush in 2001 that prevent federal dollars from being used for
additional research involving the destruction of human embryos.
side-stepping the morality of annihilating human life in the name of
curing disease, Congresswoman Diana Degette (D–CO), the bill’s
primary sponsor, expressed elation in a prepared statement after the
is a victory for ethical science as well as true bipartisanship,” she
said. “Most importantly, it is a victory for the 100 million Americans
and their families who suffer from diseases like Parkinson’s,
Alzheimer’s and diabetes.”
rhetoric is nothing new from Washington politicians. The troubling
reality is that even scientists currently experimenting with embryonic
stem cells admit that cures are years and perhaps decades away from
coming to fruition. Yet that hasn’t halted the rhetorical firestorm
is so often the case, John Edwards eloquently displayed this in 2004 by
suggesting that a vote for John Kerry was a vote for helping Christopher
Reeve out of his wheelchair.
the next promise – embryonic stem cells will cause humans to walk on
water and raise the dead?
all their talk about cures, though, the nagging question is why
Democrats and liberal-minded Republicans in Congress habitually extol
the miraculous benefits of embryonic stem cells while downplaying the
myriad ethical alternatives. The rhetoric is even more hypocritically in
light of the fact that non-embryonic stem cell research is already
revealing the kinds of treatments Edwards is looking for, but without
the dubious ethical implications.
another example arose earlier this week at Wake Forest’s Institute for
Regenerative Medicine (IRM) in Winston-Salem, N.C. Dr. Anthony Atala and
his research team were able to extract stem cells from the amniotic
fluid that surrounds the developing fetus in pregnant women.
amniotic-fluid derived stem cells are believed to closely resemble those
found in human embryos. In fact, the stem cells have already been used
to create “muscle, bone, fat, blood vessel, nerve and liver cells in
the laboratory,” according to an IRM press release.
with the IRM research, not to mention the other treatments developed
from adult stem cells, why does Congress have an apparent obsession with
destructive embryonic stem cell research?
can tell you in one word: abortion.
who subscribe to the pro-abortion ideology have very little wiggle-room
when it comes to the value of an embryo. After all, what makes medical
experimentation on human embryos immoral if life begins at some
unspecified date after conception or birth? In that case, embryos are
merely “products of conception” wholly lacking any human worth,
is the chief reason embryonic stem cell research is being pushed so
feverishly, even in the face of non-controversial alternatives. To admit
even the slightest possibility that an embryo might have human worth
would be to violate the sacrosanct pro-abortion philosophy. Why else
would abortion advocacy organizations like Planned Parenthood and NARAL
Pro-Choice America so strongly support embryonic stem cell research?
Stem cells seemingly have nothing to do with abortion, birth control, or
“sexual liberation,” so why the big fuss?
answer is simple: for all their rhetoric about choice, abortion
advocates have only one option on the stem cell issue. Anything less
than no-holds-barred embryo research would violate their ideology –
they can’t afford not to support it.
a sad cultural commentary when any nation sanctions abuse and
manipulation of the weak in order to improve the livelihood of the
strong, especially in the name of political philosophy. Throughout
history, evil is almost always tied to a socially desirable idea that
gives it a tolerable face, and embryonic stem cell research is no
question for the American people is whether we will settle for evil
cloaked around a “good idea” or uphold one of the highest ideals
known to man – the sacredness of every human life.
David N. Bass is a freelance writer.