Stem Cell Research - Embryonic Stem Cell Use Controversial
Despite the strong consensus in America against creating embryos to destroy them, those actually involved in embryo research no longer see any serious ethical problem in it. Now the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) says that ASRM's ethical guidelines permit the creation of human embryos to destroy them. Some even argue that such research is morally superior to the use of "spare" embryos, because the egg and sperm donors understand from the beginning what the embryos will be used for.
Similarly, when ACT testified before Congress in 1998, it was virtually alone in insisting that success in embryonic stem cell research would require moving on to human cloning to make genetically matched tissues for each patient. However, the nation's leading for-profit group promoting embryonic stem cell research, the Geron Corporation, soon acquired the Roslin Institute in Scotland to combine its own expertise in embryonic stem cell research with Roslin's expertise in cloning. The president of Geron recently testified to a House subcommittee that allowing the special creation of human embryos by cloning will be "essential" to the future of embryonic stem cell research. (Testimony of Thomas Okarma before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, June 20, 2001.)
These groups have engaged in embryo research long enough to deaden all sensitivity to the fact that they are dealing with human life. The federal government's funding of even a limited amount of research that relies on destroying human embryos means that this deadening of consciences will occur on a wider scale and with government approval.
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...