Essay on Killing Human Embryos for Research

Essay on Killing Human Embryos for Research

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   Recent developments highlight a point made by opponents of embryonic stem cell research for years: Once our consciences are numbed to the moral wrong of using so-called "spare" human embryos for research, our society will move on to even more egregious abuses. The Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine in Virginia has announced that it is using donated eggs and sperm to create human embryos solely to destroy them for stem cell research.( S. Stolberg, "Scientists Create Scores of Embryos to Harvest Cells," The New York Times, July 11, 2001 at A1.) Moreover, Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) in Massachusetts has announced it is trying to make human embryos by somatic cell nuclear transfer (cloning) for the same purpose.


In the past, this further step - that of creating life in the laboratory for the sole purpose of destroying it - was supported by the NIH, but widely condemned even by abortion supporters in Congress and editorial boards across the country. President Clinton refused funding for this approach, and the Washington Post editorialized:


The creation of human embryos specifically for research that will destroy them is unconscionable... [I]t is not necessary to be against abortion rights, or to believe human life literally begins at conception, to be deeply alarmed by the notion of scientists' purposely causing conceptions in a context entirely divorced from even the potential of reproduction.( L. Krieger, "Clone Coup: Geron Buys 'Dolly' Biotech Pioneer for Technology That May Have Worldwide Medical Use," San Jose Mercury News, May 5, 1999 at 1C.)


Most Christians have grave concerns on this critically important issue of embryonic stem cell research. In our view, conducting research that r...

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...ncy (SCID)-X1 Disease," 288 Science 669-72 (28 April 2000).


16. K. Foss, "Paraplegic regains movement after cell procedure," The Globe and Mail (Toronto), June 15, 2001 at A1.


17. E. Ryan et al., "Glycemic Outcome Post Islet Transplantation," Abstract #33-LB, Annual Meeting of the American Diabetes Association, June 24, 2001. See:


18. M. McCullough, "Islet transplants offer hope that diabetes can be cured," Philadelphia Inquirer, June 22, 2001 at A1.


19. D. Woodbury et al., "Adult Rat and Human Bone Marrow Stromal Cells Differentiate Into Neurons," 61 J. of Neuroscience Research 364-70 (2000) at 364 (emphasis added).


20. D. Prockop, "Stem Cell Research Has Only Just Begun" (Letter), 293 Science 211-2 (13 July 2001)(citations omitted).


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