Friday, April 17, 2009

The Right Stem Cell Approach

Obama's policy regarding stem cells was just released and I believe it was the right one. He will only open up federal funding to embryos being thrown away at fertility clinics.

Here are the options with such embryos:
1. They will die and nobody benefits if they can't be used for stem cell research.
2. They will die and millions if not billions can benefit if they they can be used for stem cell research.

The above two options are the only ones available for such embryos. I think #2 is the more moral decision. It is more in line with Christ's comment "I put it to you: which is right..., to save a life or to destroy it? Which?" (The context of this quote was Christ was doing something to save a life that was against the interpretation of the law of the extreme religious of His day. Sound familiar? Liken the scriptures anyone?)

There can not ever be any saving of a life with option 1. With option 2, the number of lives saved could be countless.

However, any embryo that does have a chance to be saved, should, and you will take note that Obama's guidelines do not allow the use of such embryos.

So again, I believe his stem cell plan is the right one.


  1. I tend to agree with you, Joe, but I also think that this is a very tricky business. Let's suppose that in a couple years some brilliant scientist using embryonic stem cells discovers a cure for cancer (unlikely I know, but play along for a minute). The number of embryos that would be discarded as a part of fertility treatments maybe enough to supply researchers for the foreseeable future, but it is nowhere near big enough to supply millions of people worldwide who have cancer and want the cure. What then? Do we create more embryos for the express purpose of destroying them? Do we make an argument that creating and then destroying a potential human being is worth it to save an adult? What about a child or an infant? Even if we don't expressly condone creating embryos only for their stem cells, there will be strong financial motives for people, doctors, and health-care companies to "find" more unwanted embryos.

    While I think it is a mistake to simply ignore embryonic stem cells because they are morally messy, I do think we may find our morals tested by them in the near future and I don't know if, as a nation, our morals are up to the test.

  2. You raise a valid point Nick. That situation may get tricky.

    Let me just say *my* moral position is that we should only use embryos that would otherwise die. How to supply the the whole world enough embryos for every ailment that could be potentially cured is beyond me.

    However, we will just have to see. This is at least a good step.


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