Stem Cell Research is Illegal, Immoral and Unnecessary
President Bush's limited federal funding of research relying on the destruction of human embryos violates federal statutory law. Christians have grieved for many years over the assault on unborn human life set loose upon our nation by the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision. Even that decision, however, did not affect all areas of law where lawmakers seek to protect developing human life. Because they are not covered by the Court's theory of reproductive privacy, human embryos outside the womb may be fully protected by law - and at least nine states have acted to protect these embryos from lethal experiments. In some states, destructive experimentation on human embryos is a felony.
Most Christians have grave concerns on this critically important issue of embryonic stem cell research. In our view, conducting research that relies on deliberate destruction of human embryos for their stem cells is illegal, immoral and unnecessary.
It is illegal because it violates an appropriations rider (the Dickey amendment) passed every year since 1995 by Congress. That provision forbids funding "research in which" human embryos (whether initially created for research purposes or not) are harmed or destroyed outside the womb.(1) National Institutes of Health guidelines approved by the Clinton Administration nonetheless give researchers detailed instructions on how to obtain human embryos for destructive cell harvesting, if they wish to qualify for federal grants in "human pluripotent stem cell research."(2) Clearly, obtaining and destroying embryos is an integral part of this project, even if the specific act of destroying embryos does not directly receive federal funds. By implementing these guidelines, the federal government would encourage researchers to conduct destructive embryo experiments that are punishable as felonies in some states.(3)
This proposal is immoral because it violates a central tenet of all civilized codes on human experimentation beginning with the Nuremberg Code: It approves doing deadly harm to a member of the human species solely for the sake of potential benefit to others. The embryos to be destroyed by researchers in this campaign are at the same stage of development as embryos in the womb who have been protected as human subjects in federally funded research since 1975.(4) President Clinton's National Bioethics Advisory Commission (NBAC) and its 1994 predecessor, the NIH Human Embryo Research Panel, conceded that the early human embryo is a form of developing human life that deserves our respect(5). Treating human life as mere research material is no way to show respect.
Finally, this proposal is unnecessary because adult stem cells and other alternatives are already achieving some of the goals for which embryonic stem cells have been proposed, and new clinical uses are constantly being discovered.(6)
Human life deserves full respect and protection at...