Thursday, July 27, 2006

Using language effectively

There has been a lot of discussion in the media about stem cell research. Much of the conversation has been about the use of federal funds for research. Those in support of such funding use the terminology “stem cell research" and as such do not differentiate between adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells. Perhaps it would also be appropriate to add the word "human" to the equation, as it would seem from the debate that many forget that the embryo is a human being and not simply a cluster of cells.

Human embryonic stem cell research is, by its process, destructive to the nascent human life. In the process of removing the stem cells, the human embryo dies. As the medical textbooks state, each human being begins his or her life at conception or fertilization. From a single cell, each one of us began his or her life. This amazing event and the ensuing journey of this “being” are dismissed by those who would capitalize on an approach to science where the “ends” justifies the “means.”

Destructive human embryonic stem cell research is morally wrong. What makes the efforts by those in the political and scientific community even more frustrating is that there are current avenues of research using adult stem cells that are presently saving lives. Further there is current research not being reported in the popular press revealing that very small embryonic-like stem cells have been found in placental cord blood. These stem cells replicate that which scientists think human embryonic stem cells can do.

Ask yourself – why won’t the media report on this discovery? What is the interest in not reporting that there are viable and valuable alternatives to destructive human embryonic stem cell research?

The answer is because it ultimately relates to abortion.

The pro-abortion elements in this country want to focus the debate on the earliest stages of human life and development. They think – erroneously – that the American people will dismiss the pro-life arguments when the subject at hand is the small human being whose appearance does not “look” like a baby. But the American people while they may not be following the full complexity of the debate are not going to fault President George W. Bush or other office holders for exercising their conscientious duties.

Yet it is not enough for those of us who are pro-life to appreciate that consideration. We have our work before us to explain to the public why destructive human embryonic stem cell research is wrong. We must be able to explain whay it should not be funded by the government. We cannot simply ignore the issue or resist efforts to answer the serious questions being asked.

The first point, however, is to remember that we are talking about human beings. Human embryos are human beings. They are still persons. To quote an old children’s book, “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”


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