Embryonic Stem-Cell Issues

There has been a news story circulating this week suggesting a company has found an 'ethical' way to harvest stem cells from human embryos. Supposedly, the company, Advanced Cell, "let its embryos grow to the 8- to 10-cell stage before removing one cell. They then grew stem cells from that single cell." [ninemsn.com].

The problem is, the company is tampering with human embryos, harvesting them from women's bodies, and not proving that they are causing no harm to the embryo (even if they weren't, it still seems very wrong to take parts (cells or a cell) from an embryo simply for the sake of scientific research). The company suggests that the embryo would be able to be implanted in a woman... but that is definitely not a guarantee that the embryo will survive the implantation. As with In-Vitro Fertilization (which is also against Church ethical teaching), many embryos are implanted, with the understanding that the majority of them will die.

It is wrong to harvest human life and exploit it (even if there's a chance for that life to survive) for the sake of scientific research.

A quote at the end of the article, from Professor John M. Harris (of the University of Manchester), shows what kind of agenda the embryonic stem-cell supporters are pushing: "The use of embryonic cells will only become non-controversial when it is accepted that the early embryo is of little or no moral significance," Harris said.

I'm sorry Mr. Harris, but a human embryo equals a human life. You cannot call it something else because only a few cells have developed so far.

I still don't understand why so many scientists and medical researchers believe they can partially or fully ignore morality 'for the sake of science.' What is preventing these companies from investing their resources in adult stem cell research, which has already proven to be useful and advantageous? I have an inkling it has to do with two things: money and politics.

The USCCB has a web page devoted to the Catholic Church's belief concerning stem-cell research (of all varieties) here.