Stem-cell policy change coming

Although the White House will only confirm that there is “a stem-cell-related event” scheduled for Monday, The Washington Post is reporting that President Obama will lift the restrictions on federal funding of stem-cell research involving the destruction of human embryos at an 11 a.m. news conference. The decision is sure to prompt much reaction from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, who called embryonic stem-cell research immoral and unnecessary in a document last June, and from scientists who have been finding success in research that doesn’t require destroying embryos. Stay tuned.

7 Responses

  1. You have a terrible ailment that can be cured with tissue replacement. You accept an organ transplant because the donor is going to die (brain dead) or has just died. How is this different from accepting stem cells cultivated from a blastocyst, a mass of less than 100 cells, left over from an in vitro fertilization, that are scheduled to be incinerated?

    Point of fact, a healthy woman has 4,000 viable eggs from the 2 million she is born with. A healthy male produces 160 million sperm per day, a quadrillion in a lifetime. So why has the Catholic discussion not focused on making better use of these God-given cells to provide life?

  2. Nancy Frazier O’Brien, reporter for CNS, in OBAMA-STEMCELLS Mar-9-2009, specifically states in the second paragraph that Obama

    “…urged Congress to consider further expansion of funding for such research, including the creation of new embryonic stem-cell lines…”.

    The Wall Street Journal, however, reports exactly the opposite, see Winslow article 3/9/09 Obama Overturns Bush Policy,

    “…So while it will substantially broaden research opportunities on established cell lines, it won’t allow the creation of new ones. That would require congressional action. The president hasn’t taken a position on that issue.”

    Does anyone know which reporter is correct?

  3. We have s spiritual crisis and it’s worse than the
    furor over the Economic crisis.

  4. Mr. Leone is correct that I mistakenly gave the wrong impression that President Obama spoke in favor of creating new embryonic stem-cell lines. The updated story now posted at http://www.catholicnews.com has removed that reference.

  5. Thoughtful1,

    Think about this; Science has yet to (or will not) state with any certainty when human life begins. The only thing we know for sure is there is no human life BEFORE conception has taken place and that it begins at some point AFTER conception. That said, I find it hard to believe that anyone with a shread of respect for human life wouldn’t err on the side of caution, allowing the possibility that the process of the creation of a human fetus has begun and if left to reach its fullest potential, will develop into a singularly unique person.

    As for the difference between accepting tissue or an organ from a dying or recently deceased donor versus receiving embyronic stem cells. I believe the state of the donor is at issue.

    First let me say that I am not against other types of stem cell research. My “beef” is limited to EMBRYONIC stem cells.

    The way I see it, when a person comes to the end of their life and dies, it is a well defined EVENT. One minute a person is alive, (granted, it may not be much of a life) and the next they are dead. Once the donor has died his tissue and organs no longer serve his body. However, someone else may benefit greatly from these organs. All’s well.

    On the other hand, if what I said at the outset made any sense, the embryo used has the potential for full development and a full and productive life. One thing to remember, a person, depending on the sex, is not fully developed until around 20 years of age. Any time before that can and should be considered the developmental stage. Consider; a 12 year old boy has developed to a greater extent than a 3 year old boy.
    The 3 year old has developed beyond what a three month old has, and so on. I contend if the developmental process has begun, HANDS OFF!

    Pax vobiscum,
    Joe

  6. “Science has yet to (or will not) state with any certainty when human life begins. The only thing we know for sure is there is no human life BEFORE conception has taken place and that it begins at some point AFTER conception.”

    No, science has already determined that human life begins at the moment when the ovum is fertilised (or the equivalent moment in the cases of twinning or human cloning). There is undoubtedly a living human organism present once that happens. The only question remaining for us as a society is not if that living human organism is a living human organism, but whether or not we will treat that organism as a means to an end or an end in itself.

  7. You might decide human life begins at fertilization, but such thinking ignores the human life present in sperm and egg. So which came first, the human or the fertilized egg?

    For argument, say life begins with the first autonomous breath. All other means to preserve breath are artificial – a respirator, an inhaler, the lungs of a mother. Access to artificial means of life depends mostly on good luck, the good will of others, and preexisting capabilities.

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