Articles / News /
Stem Cell Research—Doing Evil to Do Good ...
Thu Oct 26, 2006 03:31

Articles / News /
Stem Cell Research—Doing Evil to Do Good ...

How should the Christian respond to the harvesting of embryonic tissue? Scripture teaches that human life is special (Psalm 139:13-14) and that people have been created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). Listing the benefits of stem cell research does not null the destruction cell harvesting causes.

YouTube - Michael J. Fox (with Parkinson's) talks Stem Cell research
Fight the evil. Fight the GOP. Then we can get these sorts of things passed to help humans ... hate seeing Michael like that :( yes to stem cell research! ...

Cardinal Law & Bishop O'Malley Respond to President Bush's Stem Cell Address

Statement of Bernard Cardinal Law, Archbishop of Boston, on Stem Cell Research, August 10, 2001

Critical to a moral judgment concerning embryonic stem cell research is the fact that the embryo is a human being. Each one of us began life in the embryonic state. Creation and destruction of embryos for the sake of scientific research, no matter how promising that research may be, cannot be tolerated. We cannot kill in the name of science.

President Bush agrees with this fundamental moral truth. He intends to maintain a prohibition of federal funding for the destruction of embryos, as well as for human cloning. At the same time, however, he is prepared to allow federal funding for research on existing embryonic stem cell lines which he claims number over sixty and are a sufficient supply for the needs of medical research.

The President has elevated the public debate on this issue, and he has served the nation well in so doing. While I applaud him for setting limits, the line which he has drawn is going to be very difficult to maintain, judging from the comments of politicians calling for no limits and of scientists who question whether sixty stem cell lines are sufficient. These comments reject the inherent value of embryonic human life, a value which the President clearly affirms. It is because maintaining his position will be so difficult in today’s cultural climate that I regret the President’s decision to allow federal funding for experimentation on existing embryonic stem cell lines.

I am, however, encouraged by both the President’ s commitment to the ethical dimension of this serious moral challenge, and by his announcement that he will establish an Ethics Panel headed by the distinguished Dr. Leon Kass. I would hope that this panel will be rigorous in applying high standards of ethical conduct and protect the inviolable dignity of all human life, including embryonic human life.

Statement of Bishop O’Malley, Fall River Diocese, On Stem Cell Research August 10, 2001

There is much to praise in President Bush’s address to the nation on stem cell research. He clearly stated that life is a sacred gift from our Creator and that the president has an important obligation to foster respect for life in America and around the world. His policy against funding the destruction of more human embryos to generate new stem cell lines is commendable. He unambiguously condemned human cloning. He debunked the hype associated with unethical practices like fetal tissue research. He strongly encouraged and promised to support research on stem cells derived from adults. umbilical cords and placentas. This research has no ethical complications and has already shown, in contrast to embryonic stem cell research, highly promising results. Finally, he forcefully condemned the utilitarian moral logic that has prevailed among proponents of unbridled embryonic stem cell research. stating, "Even the most noble ends do not justify any means.

Many will have legitimate questions about the morality of the research that President Bush has decided to fund; research on already existing embryonic stem cell lines. Moral principles can shed some light on this complex moral question. Because these embryonic stem cell lines have been produced by an action that was morally evil -the willful destruction of human embryos -- any subsequent use of the cells derived from that evil act raises the question of cooperation in evil.

While some might hold the President’s policy to be an example of morally acceptable material cooperation in evil, serious ethical questions remain. The preexisting cell lines in question have been obtained at the expense of the destruction of early human life. This raises moral problems similar to those inherent in using brain cells that are harvested from electively-aborted fetuses to treat ailments like Parkinson's disease, or to the use of human organs from Nazi medical experiments. Moreover, there is serious worry that even minimal public promotion and funding of embryonic stem-cell research will only lead to the more widespread creation and destruction of human embryos and a greater devaluing of human life.

Finally, the President's tacit approval of in-vitro fertilization raises many concerns. The present embryonic stem-cell dilemma is the direct consequence of a culture in which the creation of new human life occurs not within the loving conjugal act of parents in the bedroom, but via the technical act of scientists in the laboratory. Because the moral implications of in-vitro fertilization were not sufficiently examined by policy makers, we find ourselves in a situation where embryos are being produced in the laboratory and many are being destroyed. This is just one indication of the dangers of scientific research vaulting ahead of ethical discernment.

President Bush should be praised for his attempt to stem the tide on the most morally problematic dimensions of the embryonic stem-cell debate, for his aggressive promotion of research with adult and umbilical stein-cells, and for his clear articulation of the inviolable dignity of human life, even in its earliest stages. The Presidential Council he is forming will have a profound responsibility to preserve the very fragile moral boundaries the President has delineated. The President and his council need our prayers -and our input.

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