Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Stem Cells -- Again

Anyone who has read my posts for a while should be aware that I oppose embryonic stem cell research. My personal reasons are based on what I believe to be sanctity of life.

There have been strong strides in using skin cells, and even greater strides in using umbilical cord stem cells.

Monday’s CNN article regarding fat cells! Hey, now that’s huge news – fat is good!! OK, so it’s not so much that fat is good, but the news regarding this research is good:

"… millions of fat cells removed during liposuction can be easily and quickly turned into induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells, more easily than the skin cells that researchers used when the first iPS cells were created in 2007.

"These iPS cells, like stem cells derived from embryos, can be turned into many different kinds of cells, and researchers believe they eventually could be used to regenerate tissue for organs and repair damage."
There was a rush to judgment that embryonic stem cells were the only way to go, and that those of us whose religious principles opposed the use of embryos were uneducated fanatics. Would it not have been less divisive to have listened to our concerns, supported thinking outside the box and worked together to find these alternatives?

This is a question of human rights – a secular question that should impact everyone. A society that easily discards human fetus is only a step away from discarding any non-productive member of their society. Monetary costs overwhelm caring for human life.

Whether the term is zygote, embryo, fetus, pre-born or unborn, when discussing humans, it is a life. The DNA is not the same as the woman carrying it in her womb. Its existence must begin with cells from a human woman and a human male. How they combine varies and the interest on the part of the host body varies, enough that some would discard this union of human cells with its unique DNA.

For Jews and Christians this union is the natural progression of God’s creation: Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. (Genesis 2:24 KJV)

The combination of cells, the resulting flesh, is human. This human is at one of its most vulnerable stages of life. There may come a time when age has created a similar frailty, and that is a natural progression. Human rights should be afforded to all humans during such vulnerabilities.

Many laws around the world are designed to protect human life, elevating that to a right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” We should be seriously concerned when humans are denied that right to life at their beginning.

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