One of Focus on the Family's guiding principles is the sanctity of human life. We believe that human life is created by God in His image. It is of inestimable worth and significance in all its dimensions, including the preborn, the aged, those deemed unattractive, the physically or mentally challenged, and every other condition in which humanness is expressed from the single cell stage of development to natural death. Christians are therefore called to defend, protect and value all human life.
Technology and scientific research has tremendous potential for doing good, but that same technology can also be used for evil. Therefore, moral and ethical considerations must be taken into account. Stem cell research can be conducted within an ethical framework while at the same time provide treatments and cures for suffering patients.
Focus on the Family supports and encourages stem cell research using non-embryonic sources of stem cells, including umbilical cord blood, placenta, bone marrow and various adult tissues. No human lives are destroyed in harvesting stem cells from these sources. Therapies from these stem cells already provide beneficial treatments to patients (in contrast to the speculative study involving human embryonic stem cells), and such research should be a priority for both public and privately funded research.
Focus on the Family opposes stem cell research using human embryos. In order to isolate and culture embryonic stem cells, a living human embryo must be killed. It is never morally or ethically justifiable to kill one human being in order to benefit another. By requiring the destruction of embryos – the tiniest human beings – embryonic stem cell research violates the medical ethic, "Do No Harm." It is also important to note that, to date, embryonic stem cell research has not treated or cured one patient.
As we look at upcoming biotechnologies and new forms of stem cell research, we encourage researchers to look for ethical ways to obtain research material and potential cures for patients.
In the midst of the debate over embryonic and adult stem cells, researchers pursued the idea of finding ethical, alternative sources of stem cells that have the properties of embryonic stem cells. iPS cells were some of the fruits of that pursuit. Thanks to pro-life voices involved in the debate, there continue to be ethical options for treating disease and ethical advancements in new stem cell research.