From a very young age, I’ve been told that a monetary value cannot be placed on my life – my parents would not accept any sum of money, no matter how large, in return for my life. When I have kids, though, I’m not sure I’ll be able to tell them the same thing. With the increasing popularity and interest in stem cell research, it’s very possible that by the time I have kids, I could have just as easily sacrificed my children in order to provide a new organ for some stranger and in return for a large sum of money.
The basis for stem cell research, namely, coming up with a way of providing organs and tissues for those who have lost them or need a new one, is good. I’m all for helping the sick as much as possible. But, we need to draw the line somewhere. There are two main methods of stem cell research. Stem cells can come either from embryos, or from a wide variety of ordinary cells, called “adult cells” that are present in every living human being. The problem arises, though, with these adult cells. Because they have specialized and now perform a specialized task, they are much more difficult to specialize for a different purpose. On the other hand, embryonic stem cells are the prime choice for researchers. Because they are in an early stage, embryonic stem cells are not very specialized and can be tricked into turning into virtually any type of cell. The process with embryonic stem cells is much easier than with adult cells because they are more basic, more ready to change. Therefore, embryonic stem cell research is much more common than adult stem cell research.
In the process of extracting embryonic stem cells, the embryo is destroyed. I have talked to a few of my colleagues, and before my mentioning this they did not realize it. Many in support of HB-903 might point out that these embryos would die anyway. Indeed, this is a true statement – aborted embryos were aborted so that they would no longer exist, so that they would die. There are a couple of problems with this fact. First off, according to the internationally-agreed-upon Nuremberg code, humans cannot be used in experimental research without their confirmed consent and permission. In such a situation, embryonic stem cell research requires that researchers destroy human embryos and only serves to prompt abortion. Rather than having an abortion only as a means to rid oneself of an unwanted child, people would be having it left and right in order to save sick people. If this bill were to pass, abortion would be profitable, not only for the abortion doctor, but also for the researchers as well as the mother.
Again, supporters of the bill would bring up the point that there are many abandoned embryos in fertility clinics that would die anyway. While this may be true, what happens when research is done in mass amounts and we run out of these embryos? Often, doctors don’t get the procedure right on the first try; it can take hundreds of trials for it to work properly. Therefore, we would use up these existing embryos and then need more. Where would we turn then? For embryonic stem cells, the only source would be abortion, which would become a moneymaking scheme.
Can we really say that one life is more important than another – that an adult is more important than a developing baby? One man writes, “It is not right for big, strong human beings to benefit themselves by preying upon weak, little human beings.” The fact remains that I cannot stand here and honestly say that my life is more important than an unborn baby’s.