Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Stem cell research

What does everyone think about the federal government funding embryonic stem cell research? Many scientists say that stem cell research could be the tool used to cure many diseases.

I admit, I'm not particularly knowledgable about stem cell research and it's relationship with the federal government. What that also means is I have not made up my mind. This is your chance to bring me to your side.

Here's an interesting website that pretty much sums up what I know. It's not particularly reliable, but it articulates this subject well. If you visited the website, the idea that I know little about stem cell research should be solidifed.

Here are some thoughts to consider when presenting what you know about stem cell research: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of which I am an active and faithful member, does not have a stance on this issue.

As far as I know the Church does not have an official position on when the soul enters the body. Although, elective abortion at any stage of pregnancy is considered a sin.

Can a petri dish or a test tube get pregnant?

I cannot find a reliable source on the Church's opinion on in vitro fertilization, if such an opinion exists.

After 8 weeks, an embryo ceases being an embryo and becomes a fetus. A pregnancy typically lasts 40 weeks.

I don't know why, but I think it's worth mentioning that President David McKay said that an abortion is not the same as murder: "As the matter stands today, no definite statement has been made by the Lord one way or another regarding the crime of abortion. So far as is known, he has not listed it alongside the crime of the unpardonable sin and shedding of innocent human blood. That he has not done so would suggest that it is not in that class of crime and therefore that it will be amenable to the laws of repentance and forgiveness."

That statement should not be used to downplay the sin of abortion.

What role will adult stem cell research play?

Please do not take anything on this post as my personal feelings on stem cell research or abortion. There will be times that I will play "devil's advocate". The only people who know how I feel about abortion are my wife and the Lord.

On a different note, Rush Limbaugh accused Michael J. Fox of acting in this commercial. I think Rush went too far. The commercial was made to take advantage of Fox's celebrity status and his disease. This is evident.

However, I can't judge whether Fox was acting or not. So, I'm going to show sympathy and say he was not acting. Rush went too far.


Blake Roberts said...

I am personally against it, so long as the research allows for the stem cells to be harvested (now there is a nice un-neutral word for it) from embryos or fetuses.

The embryo may not be alive, the fetus may not be alive, but that does not mean that we should not give it proper respect and burial. Let me give an example of the thought process I am working along:

I consider it along the same lines as involuntary organ donation. If I were to find a body, I think it would be immoral of me to desecrate it, and equally immoral for a hospital to take their organs without them having given prior permission. Now, there is no question that the person is dead, and will never be alive (save for when they are resurrected), but they deserve respect. Were it a family member of mine, I would go ballistic if someone were to violate it in such a way.

It may mean the loss of large amounts of stem cells by restricting research to other sources. It may set the work back several years. But experience has taught me that what is easy isn't always what's right, or best. I cannot justify in my mind what would be sacrificing decency for a more comfortable existence. I said that in a very polarizing way, but that is how I see it.

Chaucer Arafat said...

If it comes to a question of discarding the embryo (which, to my understanding is the most common result) vs. using it for potentially life-improving research, then i can't understand the vacillation. I don't consider that a desecration of humanity...quite the opposite.

BUT having said that, it is at the discretion of those in charge of the embryo--those who serve as its 'voice.'

Anonymous said...


To clarify, you mean discarding embryos left over from in vitro processes right?


Chaucer Arafat said...

xpost: yes

Jessica said...

Orrin Hatch is supportive of stem cell research, right? That says a lot to me.

Joe Strickland said...

Rush did go too far. However, the legislation that Michael J Fox is endorsing makes human cloning a state constitutional right in Missouri. I think that is going too far.

Anonymous said...

Cloning eh? Maybe Michael is thinking of making himself a "mini me"?