Embryonic life in Perlmutter's sights

By Krista Kafer (krista555@msn.com) Last week an AP headline heralded a remarkable scientific breakthrough: “Swiss scientists grow human heart valves using material taken from amniotic fluid.” Another article spoke of dogs with muscular dystrophy walking again with the help of stem cells.

In both cases, scientists used non-lethal stem cell extractions from amniotic fluid or from adult cells -- rather than from embryos killed for the purpose. The fact is the most promising and successful therapies using stem cells involve those taken from adult, placental, or amniotic sources not from those taken from unborn children. For this reason, private investment capital is focused on adult stem cell research, leaving less successful and unethical research out in the cold – where it belongs.

This may be about to change – enter the new Congress flush with victory and access to the public checkbook.

Some members, including a few from Colorado, are dead set on using taxpayer funding for research that requires the killing of unborn children. As Congressman-elect Ed Perlmutter’s website boasts, “We now can begin to…fight to overturn the President’s veto of stem cell research…”

Presently it is perfectly legal to kill an unborn child from fertilization to just before birth, to extract their tissues and organs, and to allocate private funds for such grim activities. But thanks to President Bush's unyielding policy stance, sustained not long ago by his veto of a pending bill, those who value human life are not complicit in these activities through their tax dollars. This, however, could change.

What if the President’s next veto is overridden, as Perlmutter has pledged to achieve? That will be the last day I pay my federal taxes. Frédéric Bastiat once wrote, “When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law.” It would be a cruel choice indeed, and one from which I would certainly face consequences. Even so, it is not enough in life to avoid doing evil; we must act to protect its victims, those who cannot fight for themselves, even at our own peril.

Thankfully the time has not yet come for such a drastic decision. Now is the time to educate our friends and neighbors about the real promise of adult stem cell research, and the cruelty and futility of embryonic stem cell research. We must make a case for the sanctity of human life. In our country, 4,000 unborn children die every day in abortion clinics, while countless others perish in science laboratories. And the road could grow darker still.