An article from a friend about Stem Cells
Most of us accept the logic of stem cell research. But this article a friend wrote spells a lot out and provides some great ammunition when it comes time to defend stem cell research. I felt it needed to be shared.
AMWW#135: OF ELEPHANTS AND EMBRYOS
by Abe Munder, the Wheeled Wonder
You knew I wasn't going to let this one slide. That cockamamie political maneuvering a few weeks back that took the wind out of the sails of stem-cell research.
The vetoed measure, overwhelmingly popular and backed by rare bipartisan Congressional support, proposed using extra embryos from fertility clinics. These embryos are destroyed regardless.
That is a phrase that's difficult to read: human embryos destroyed. I don't like it, just as I don't like abortion. Personally, I'm against it. But it's happening every day, human embryos destroyed, whether or not this legislation was passed or even proposed in the first place.
Fertility clinics destroy untold thousands of embryos each year. It's part of their normal operating procedure. Couples and fertility doctors create more embryos than are required. They implant more than are wanted. Then, the most promising embryos are kept and developed into fetuses. The others are all destroyed. It's in the manuals that way. A regular day at the office. In this way, fertility clinics bless couples with brand new healthy babies.
I've heard a lot of yelling about stem-cell research. A lot about supporters like me being godless Dr. Mengeles, moral relativists, or science-worshiping pinkos who've got it out for Mel Gibson and the baby Jesus.
I'm none of those, and I've not harmed a single human embryo.
But on the other hand, I've not heard anything about fertility clinics. And they, and their clients who only want to be loving parents, well . . .
Let's just say that if you are serious about saving embryonic life, you need to go after fertility clinics.
Me, I've got nothing against fertility clinics. I'm against those hiding their heads in the sand, pretending they've taken a stand by derailing this proposal.
They've accomplished nothing. They've saved not one cell.
In fact, if stem-cell research ever moves to a point where it can be done without replacing or destroying an embryo--as implied by the announcement this week that parts of an embryo, called blastomeres, can be extracted for use while preserving the viability of the original embryo--even then, the very same number of embryos will be destroyed. But it won't be the bloodthirsty stem-cell researchers destroying them. No, it will be the same people who are doing so right now, today, under our noses.
That's the comforting thing about silence. Like Blanche DuBois did, you can fill it with any sort of pretending that you wish. And if we think pleasant thoughts, we won't have to dwell on the hundreds of embryos destroyed this week. Destroyed for nothing.
So we are retreating from our technological edge, from our ability to create high-paid American jobs, and from the dawn of a new generation of healing medicine. To retreat to the land of pretend.
If the argument about saving embryos does not wash, what about the other objections to this proposal?
One is that adult stem cells are the more ethical alternative. Adult-cell supporters say their way is more successful, that adult cells have actually produced results, while embryonic cells have not. Claims that are disputed by embryonic-cell supporters, who say embryonic cells are more promising. Who's right? Doesn't matter. Pursue both. Adult and embryonic cells are on parallel but separate tracks. You don't do science with one eye closed. Besides, some competition between the two can only be beneficial. Competition got us to the moon awful quick.
The other counterargument I hear is the Snowflake babies: those discarded embryos adopted and born to other couples. President Bush was flanked by several of these children while he vetoed the stem-cell proposal. It's a nice, heart-warming idea. But there are tumbleweeds blowing through Snowflake Station, and the turnstiles are creaky from lack of turning. Of the hundreds of thousands of available embryos, less than 150 have been adopted as Snowflakes. Come on, you Snowflake boosters, let's get adopting! Those freezers are cold!
These are emotional appeals. None holds up under scrutiny. Like so much policy lately, they do not stand when followed to their logical conclusions. But who wants to think that hard, when it feels better not to?
Instead, opponents talk around the uncomfortable truth and congratulate themselves as if they've done something, but they've not. They set themselves on a moral high ground, and talk down to the rest of us. But their pedestal is made of sand. It's phony. As Senator Arlen Spector of the president's own party remarked, the next generation will look back in disbelief that we even had this debate.
Simply, it doesn't matter where you stand on stem-cell research: by killing this bill, not a single additional life will be saved. Not one. And by passing this same measure, not a single additional life will be claimed. Not one.
Either way, tens and hundreds of thousands of embryos are thrown away each year. Perhaps 1,000 since you woke up this morning. Down the toilet. Most unsanctimonious. Did you yell any about it?
It's like ignoring an elephant in the middle of the room. Everyone can pretend the elephant is not there, but it is.
By the way, that stench you smell may be elephant dung. But it may be something else.
"Imperious, choleric, irascible, extreme in everything, with a dissolute imagination the like of which has never been seen, atheistic to the point of fanaticism, there you have me in a nutshell.... Kill me again or take me as I am, for I shall not change.