Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Stem cell research

They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons; they poured out innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters...
   Ps. 106:37-39
For some time now, the debate has raged over stem cell research. Of course, there are huge differences, both scientifically and ethically, between embryonic stem cells - those taken from living human embryos, and stem cells taken other sources such as bone marrow and cord blood. (See this link and also this one).

Despite the lack of promise shown by the embryonic stem cells, legislators like Tom Harkin (D - Iowa) have been insisting that federal tax money should be poured into this research. The use of non-embryonic stem cells is not good enough; we just have to use embryonic stem cells. Evidently, the prospects for success are too slim to attract venture capital, so we also have to fund it with tax dollars.

Now comes the news that embryonic stem cells can more easily be obtained from amniotic fluid (see this article in the Washington Times), in a process which is harmless to both mother and child. These embryonic stem cells seem to actually show some promise.

Does this news affect our newly elected legislators? Not in the least. The push for research that destroys living human embryos moves forward boldly. The bill is scheduled in both houses (HR 3, S 5) for later this week.

It is becoming more and more difficult to rationalize or to find nuanced explanations. I can only conclude that this is intimately connected with abortion rights. Were it not for this connection, the liberals in Congress would be rejoicing in the new scientific finding, and would be eager to avoid the ethical and ideological divisiveness of the avenue they are pursuing. As it is, they reveal more and more just where their hearts are.

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