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Cause for Concern (Stem Cells)

Embryonic stem cell research requires the destruction of tiny, living humans – violating the sanctity of human life.

Embryonic stem cell research and the cloning of human embryos for research require the destruction of tiny, living humans – violating the sanctity of human life. Every human, in every condition from the single cell stage of development to natural death, is made in God's image and possesses inestimable worth. Our human nature – not our size, level of development, environment or functional capacity – gives us worth and dignity as human beings. Therefore, devaluing and destroying the life of a human embryo opens the door to the devaluing and destroying any human life.

In addition to the moral problems, scientific concerns abound with embryonic stem cells. Embryonic stem cell research is often touted as the most promising option because these cells are a "blank slate" capable of changing into all of the body's cell types. However, less well known is that many types of adult stem cells have the same ability – often referred to as pluripotency. And now, with the advent of iPS cells (adult body cells reprogrammed to behave like embryonic stem cells), we have yet another source of flexible stem cells that do not require the destruction of young human life.

Scientifically, embryonic stem cell research continues to hit research dead-ends. What was once hailed as the most promising option for curing a whole host of diseases (Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, diabetes) has yet to yield any tangible cures for human patients. In fact, the only consistent news we get about embryonic stem cell research is overly hyped exclamations about great "breakthroughs."

The status of stem cell research is clear. Morally problematic, life destroying embryonic stem cell research is losing ground as a possible option for treating disease. But ethical, scientifically sound non-embryonic stem cell research is providing real therapies and basic research.

 

 
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