By Krista Kafer (firstname.lastname@example.org) Two days after the scientific community heralded the benefits of stem cells taken from amniotic fluid, the US House of Representatives passed Rep. Diana Degette’s bill (again) to use taxpayer funds to kill unborn children for their stem cells, a practice that has yet to produce any benefits.
For the record, the human body creates stem cells from conception to death. These cells are special in that they can become other types of cells like muscle cells or a brain cells. In adults, stem cells are present in the blood, bone marrow, skin, brain, liver, pancreas, fat, and hair follicle. They are also present in the placenta, umbilical cord, and amniotic fluid. Stem cells can be harmlessly culled from these sources to be used in medical experiments to treat diseases such as diabetes and spinal cord injuries.
In November of last year, the Rocky Mountain News reported Swiss scientists had grown human heart valves using stem cells from amniotic fluid. Another article on the same page lauded the use of adult stem cells in mitigating muscular dystrophy in dogs. The dogs were able to walk and jump after being injected with adult stem cells. On January 9, the RMN reported American researchers had discovered amniotic stem cells “have many of the key benefits of embryonic stem cells while avoiding thorny ethical issues.”
The “thorny ethical issue” is that the process of extracting embryonic stem cells kills the donor. That embryonic stem cells cause tumors and other complications in recipients is certainly a drawback. The lack of success in curing or mitigating diseases is another, but the main opposition to using taxpayer funds for embryonic stem cell research is that it kills unborn children. While it is legal to kill children from conception until birth and to sell their bodies or tissues including their stem cells (it is also perfectly legal to donate funds to these endeavors), we, the opposition, do not want to be complicit in the death of innocents by virtue of our tax dollars.
We support non-lethal adult, amniotic, placental, and umbilical cord stem cell research which incidentally is the research with the track record of success. Embryonic stem cell research has so little promise that it cannot attract sufficient private investment. So why, two days after yet another scientific breakthrough regarding non-lethal stem cell research, did the House of Representatives vote to use taxpayer dollars for that which is ineffective and opposed by millions of Americans? Do they not read the papers? Do they not talk with scientists or investors?
Perhaps it is not a question of ignorance. Perhaps it is a question of agenda. To back away from embryonic stem cell research is to admit that there might be something wrong with killing one human being to benefit another. To back away affirms the humanity of the child, an admission unacceptable to the abortion interests that profit in its absence. While the success of non-lethal stem cell therapies gives politicians a perfect out to change their votes, the stakes are too high to permit what may seem like a change of heart.