Monday, January 31, 2011

Stem Cells; The Smallest Persons

Stem cells are commonly referred to through-out the field of science today but not many people fully understand what they do or how they are acquired. In the article "Stem Cells and Personhood," a few of these clarifications are made. Stem cells make up a person’s entire body and have the capacity to replicate, and become any other type of cell. This is why they are of so much interest to researchers. If there is an unhealthy part of the body, stem cells can be used to repair it. These cells can be attained from either embryonic or adult stem cells. The key area of interest to pro-life groups is embryonic stem cells. These are obtained from aborted fetal tissue, human clones, or leftovers from in-vitro fertilization. Whereas adult stem cells are obtained from cells that already exist within your body.
The issue of using embryonic stem cells is based around the question of whether or not embryos are persons or if this personhood characterizes the embryo once its growth has accelerated to a certain point. Most pro-life groups agree with the notion that human life takes place at the point of conception, and that this life reflects the divine creation of God. Therefore, to hinder or take this life at the beginning of its growth span is to commit murder. This concept becomes more vivid when one takes into account that cloned human embryos, which are grown purely for the purpose of stem cell research, are allowed to grow until they are between 7-15 days old at which point they are literally cut open down the middle so that their stem cells can be harvested. Furthermore, abortion clinics often sell the body parts of aborted babies to medical research facilities for a lucrative profit. One would like to assume that most people would agree that this is wrong, however, it is the numerous worldviews that our society holds that keep so many people from agreeing with that very statement.
The horrendous acts that accompany the process of embryonic stem cell research by far outweigh the benefits that medical science has gained from it. This is especially true considering the fact that not a single disease has been cured through embryonic stem cell research while 72 different diseases have been cured through adult stem cell research. These include a vast number of cancers, blood disorders, and auto-immune deficiencies. When taking into account the number of lives that have been lost to embryonic stem cell research, one would hope that as a nation we would put a stop to it. Incidentally, incoming funds from private investors has diminishing significantly over time. Sadly, this is not due to the sanctity that our society places on human life but rather because of what little success embryonic stem cell research has had in the way of medical advances. One can only hope that in the future, as the only God-breathed creation that is made in God’s image, we will place greater sanctity on human life, acknowledging the personhood of any human life form no matter how young it may be.

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