Wednesday, May 25, 2005
On this day:

Use Adult Stem Cells, Not Embryonic

Killing embryos is not progress By Cardinal William H. Keeler
Those who say these embryos "would be discarded anyway" are wrong. Embryos that couples want discarded are barred from being used in research. In fact, many couples who initially chose to discard their "excess" embryos have later changed their minds and let them survive. But now, government-funded researchers would reach in and destroy these young lives before that can happen. This bill would lead to much killing that would not otherwise happen. And since all the "spare" embryos available for research cannot provide enough stem cells to treat any major disease, the proposed law would inevitably lead to creating human lives in the laboratory solely to destroy them. That hope of treating disease is the driving force behind this bill. Yet the "promise" of embryonic stem cell research has been exaggerated. The journal Science last week published a warning by Stanford University experts that "it is nearly certain that the clinical benefits of the research are years or maybe decades away." They added: "This is a message that desperate families and patients will not want to hear." But they need to hear it. They were led to support this unethical research by hyped promises of miracle cures. Stem cells from umbilical-cord blood and adult tissues, posing no moral problem, have advanced quickly toward treating juvenile diabetes, Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injury, sickle-cell anemia, cardiac damage and other conditions. The fixation on destroying embryos has diverted resources away from more promising therapies, and therefore ill serves suffering patients as well as embryonic human beings. Congress should reject this bill and support promising medical research that all Americans can live with.