Stem Cell Research
Do we have the right to take stem cells from the human embryo, resulting in the embryo’s death?
The human embryo cannot give its consent to donate its stem cells. Removing its stem cells results in the death of the embryo.
America’s government was founded on principles that protect the weak and vulnerable from the arbitrary decisions of the strong and powerful. We have condemned the utilitarian thinking that enabled the Nazis in WW II to experiment on human beings to increase their knowledge of human diseases. We have also condemned the utilitarian thinking of American scientists who experimented with syphilis on African-Americans in Tuskegee, Alabama without their prior consent. Medical advancement should be supported, but not at the cost of human life or human health. No human being should be made the subject of research without his or her permission. Even death row inmates cannot be experimented on, nor have their organs removed, without their consent.
RI Right to Life is opposed to research that destroys a developing human being. When stem cells are removed, a unique individual dies. Each one of us began our life’s journey as a human embryo.
At the top right corner of this page is a picture of a morula on the tip of a pin. A morula is a very early embryonic stage of human life. One might say that it doesn’t look human. However, this is exactly what a newly conceived human being looks like in its very early development. This nascent human life has the entire DNA blueprint necessary to continue growing into a baby boy or baby girl. You and I looked exactly like this morula at this particular stage of our development.
It has been proven scientifically that human life begins at conception or at fertilization. During human sexual intercourse, the sperm or male gamete and the egg or female gamete come together in the woman’s fallopian tube. This is called conception or fertilization. From then on, this new baby girl or baby boy only needs to have oxygen and nutrients to continue to grow. He or she will eventually travel down the woman’s fallopian tubes into her uterus and implant into the uterine wall. Implantation is not when life begins. Life begins before implantation at the moment of fertilization or at conception.
Couples who are infertile often choose to become pregnant through a scientific process called in vitro fertilization (IVF). The donated sperm from the father and the eggs removed from the mother’s ovaries are allowed to come together under laboratory conditions, creating human embryos. Each embryo, created in this method, has the entire compliment of DNA necessary to continue its growth into a baby girl or baby boy. If these embryos, once placed into the mother’s womb, successfully implant into the uterine wall, they will continue to develop into a baby boy or baby girl.
Often there are more embryos created during this laboratory procedure than can be used by the couple. These embryos are put into a cryogenic “deep freeze” to be used later by the same couple or released for adoption by other infertile couples. These human embryos are often referred to by the dehumanizing term of “left over” embryos. Some scientists would like to use these human embryos for “scientific research.” Of course we know these embryos would be destroyed during this research as their stem cells would be removed.
For further information on stem cell research, explore the rest of this section of our site and also see the following sites:
National Right to Life: http://www.nrlc.org/Killing_embryos
Do No Harm – Doctors against embryonic stem cell research: http://www.stemcellresearch.org
The National Catholic Bioethics Center: http://www.ncbcenter.org
The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity http://www.cbhd.org
Blog of bioethicist Wesley J. Smith http://www.wesleyjsmith.com/blog/blogger.html
The Discover Institute http://www.discovery.org