Sunday, November 09, 2008

Obama on stem cell research

I just read an article saying that Obama wants to reverse Bush's orders on stem cell research and drilling. There's a lot of misinformation out there about this issue, and I'm a little reluctant to say anything about it because there's also a lot of people out there pointing out this misinformation. I don't have anything new to add. But I figure maybe somebody will read this who didn't read what somebody else said.

First, Bush did not put any ban on embryonic stem cell research. What he stopped was federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.

Second, we pro-lifers are generally not against all stem cell research. We are specifically opposed to embryonic stem cell research for the same reason that we are pro-life. It's because it takes the life of an innocent human being without proper justification. It's impossible to harvest stem cells from embryos without killing them in the process. But it is not impossible to harvest stem cells from adults without killing them. So I'm all for stem cell research as long as it doesn't involve killing people to get them.

So why should we pro-lifers be up in arms over Obama's desire to reverse Bush's orders? Anything that is federally funded is something that we the people are paying for. If there is federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, then we the people will be paying to have embryos killed.

If you think about it, though, all of us are going to have some disagreement over how federal money gets spent. So at one point or another, each of us is going to financially support something we disagree with.

I find it troubling that somebody who claims it is above his paygrade to say when life begins seems to be all for allowing people complete freedom to end what he must at least consider possible life. There doesn't seem to be any reluctance or hesitation on his part concerning abortion and embryonic stem cell research. I haven't confirmed it, but I have read that he also was against the ban on partial birth abortion. He wants women to have complete liberty to destroy what he thinks might be an innocent human being. It seems to me that if there really is some doubt in his mind about whether the unborn are human beings, then there ought to be a corresponding hesitation on his part to be pro-choice. But there isn't. He's radically pro choice. Most pro choice people are at least opposed to partial birth abortion, and many of the pro choice people I've talked to think abortion ought to be proscribed at some point during the pregnancy. The point of viability seems to be the most popular cut-off point, and some say the third trimester.

There is no discernible distinction between a baby inside the womb and a baby outside the womb at 7 to 9 months that has any moral significance. Partial birth abortion is barbaric. I don't see how anybody who knows anything about the procedure and has a conscience can say this is a right women have that ought to be protected.


DagoodS said...

I see a difficulty in the lag between advancement in technology and moral decisions.

For a crude example, think of the internet. 20 years ago there were no moral quandaries about the internet—its existent was too limited. Since that time, we have entered a whole new world of interesting, un-explored questions. Some items can be translated over. I would presume if a person was against print pornography then internet pornography would have a morally equivalent decision.

Others become more gray. Why is it, on the ‘net, how “steve-o5” discusses with “Black Bart” is less stringent than we would talk face-to-face? What we would never think of doing in person is not even noted as significant on-line.

Others are brand new. Must spouses share passwords? How much personal information is appropriate? Are e-mails the property of the sender, the recipient, or both?

I see a similar lag in embryonic stem cell research. What do we do with all those frozen embryos? (Obviously much of this question hinges on when one determines a fetus is entitled to protection. Less of a problem for those who would hold to a later stage.)

We have 400,000 frozen embryos. 88% are designated for family planning. Only 11,000 are available for research. Although I think those numbers are a bit off, considering we are still left with the problem of what to do with embryos after a person no-longer desires to use them to start a family. Not all of them will be used.

If one holds to protection beginning at conception—this creates a problem. They can only stay frozen so long—perhaps as much as 13 years. Do we keep them frozen and let them “go bad” on their own? Throw them out? (I would think that as being problematic as abortion.) Do we force females to carry them?

If we are going to throw them out or let them go bad—it would seem equally prudent to harness the research available by utilizing them. Obviously I don’t think the only other choice is to force female prisoners to carry them to term, but what choices do you propose?

And I would give a note of caution. To those who say, “I don’t know”—remember technology will advance regardless of indecision. There will be more frozen embryos made this month. This is not a medical procedure going away. There are frozen embryos now. If this moral decision is left blank by one side; another side will fill in that blank. Most likely toward using the embryos for research.

Sam Harper said...

Ethics can be complicated, huh?