Monday, May 18, 2009

Politics Wins The Great Stem Cell Debate

The great stem cell debate has escalated. In office barely six weeks, President Obama fulfilled his promise to sign an Executive Order reversing the ban on taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research. This ban, put in place by President Bush, has been under many misconceptions during the years of its existence.

First, President Bush did not ban embryonic stem cell research. He banned the use of taxpayer’s money to fund embryonic stem cell research. This is what President Obama reversed. Although Obama's new plan is not yet in place and no date has been given, it would require taxpayers’ money to be used without a chance for conscientious objection for reasons such as faith.

Second, President Bush did not ban all stem cell research. He banned embryonic stem cell research except for using lines of embryonic stem cells which already exist for that purpose.

Maybe President Obama is receiving his sight on this issue from people who believe that embryonic stem cells are the only type of stem cells. The fact is, discoveries and uses are more often being made with other kinds of stem cells than with embryonic ones.

At least 70 conditions are already being treated with bone marrow and cord blood stem cells rather than embryonic stem cells. “Cord blood stem cells” are taken from umbilical cords which would otherwise be discarded from full term, living babies at birth. This includes leukemia, MS, spinal cord injuries, Hodgkin’s’ lymphoma and sickle cell anemia; and with successful work on Parkinson’s, Lupus and other diseases.

An adult person’s own stem cells can be used without complications, while embryonic stem cells can be rejected by a patient's immune system. The National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke reports that neural stem cells can repair the nervous system. But the media is simply not giving Americans insight into this detail.

In 2005, Democrats in the Senate blocked the Cord Blood Stem Cell Act of 2005 because it didn’t include funding for embryonic stem cell cloning research. However, it was eventually released as the Stem Cell Therapeutic Research Act. A list at the International Cord Blood Society Website, which is not a faith-based organization, shows how many diseases are being successfully treated with cord blood.

Example: Biotechnology Online from the Australian Government sites one Korean woman who was paralyzed, now walking after 20 years due to umbilical cord stem cells.

Amniotic fluid stem cells:
In 2007, Nature Biotechnology Journal, MSNBC and other documented reports stated that seven years of research by scientists from the Wake Forest School of Medicine and Harvard University found stem cell lines from amniotic fluid to have as great or greater potential than embryonic stem cells. “Amniotic fluid” is the liquid in the sac which protects a baby in the mother’s womb before her water breaks. Amniotic fluid stem cells can be grown in large quantities, do not require cells from live human embryos, and do not develop tumors like embryonic stem cells have been known to do.

Conclusion: It could be that scientists need taxpayers’ money for embryonic stem cell research because they can’t convince enough private sources to fund it.

But with Obama’s executive order, science doesn't win the debate. Politics wins the great stem cell debate. It shouldn’t have been a decision between moral values or religion and science. It should simply have been based on ethics. With embryonic stem cells, ethics are in danger. Doctors could start searching for more reasons to abort embryos or implant too many because they can make money from it – just as money is being made from selling aborted human baby parts and organs on the black market.

Perhaps President Obama became convinced by lobbyists who were paid to dispute this fact: that human embryos, whether implanted or frozen, may have a potential for human life. They are vital animal organisms…and even evolutionists and environmentalists should care about those.

Please note:This article’s information was gathered from solid, scientific sources not affiliated with or motivated by a specific faith to the best of the writer’s knowledge.

(c) 2009 Sheryl Young


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