Stem cell research
Anon asked, “My understanding that the embryonic stem cells are discarded (from different articles I have read) so if that is the case then why not have embryonic stem cell research? Millions of Americans can be helped from these cells.” The following is a Q & A from the USCCB; the fourth question is similar to your question, Anon. To view the full Q & A, please click on the title of this post.
WHAT IS A STEM CELL?
A stem cell is a relatively unspecialized cell that, when it divides, can
do two things: make another cell like itself, or make any of a number
of cells with more specialized functions. For example, just one
kind of stem cell in our blood can make new red blood cells, or
white blood cells, or other kinds—depending on what the body
needs. These cells are like the stem of a plant that spreads out in different directions as it grows.
IS THE CATHOLIC CHURCH OPPOSED TO ALL STEM CELL RESEARCH?
Not at all. Most stem cell research uses cells obtained from adult
tissue, umbilical cord blood, and other sources that pose no moral
problem. Useful stem cells have been found in bone marrow, blood,
muscle, fat, nerves, and even in the pulp of baby teeth. Some of
these cells are already being used to treat people with a wide variety
WHY IS THE CHURCH OPPOSED TO STEM CELL RESEARCH
USING THE EMBRYO?
Because harvesting these stem cells kills the living human embryo.
The Church opposes the direct destruction of innocent human life
for any purpose, including research.
IF SOME HUMAN EMBRYOS WILL REMAIN IN FROZEN STORAGE
AND ULTIMATELY BE DISCARDED ANYWAY, WHY IS IT
WRONG TO TRY TO GET SOME GOOD OUT OF THEM?
In the end we will all die anyway, but that gives no one a right to
kill us. In any case, these embryos will not die because they are inherently unable to survive, but because others are choosing to hand them over for destructive research instead of letting them implant in their mother’s womb. One wrong choice does not justify an additional
wrong choice to kill them for research, much less a choice to make
taxpayers support such destruction. The idea of experimenting on
human beings because they may die anyway also poses a grave threat
to convicted prisoners, terminally ill patients, and others.
...HAS RESEARCH USING ADULT STEM CELLS EVER
Thousands of lives have been saved by adult stem cells—most often
in the form of “bone marrow transplants” for leukemia and other
conditions (where the active ingredient in the bone marrow is stem
cells). Today, adult stem cells have been used to help people with
Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injury, sickle-cell anemia, heart
damage, corneal damage, and dozens of other conditions. The danger
is that this progress toward cures will be halted or slowed by
campaigns that divert attention and resources toward embryonic
stem cell research.