Limit, Then End Embryonic Stem Cell Study

THIS CATHOLIC’S VIEW By Thomas J. Reese It is no surprise that the Obama administration is lifting the restrictions put … Continued

THIS CATHOLIC’S VIEW

By Thomas J. Reese

It is no surprise that the Obama administration is lifting the restrictions put on embryonic stem cell research by President George W. Bush in 2001 when he authorized the use of federal funds for such research. President Obama made clear during the campaign that he would do this. He has been convinced by those doing the research that it will lead to medical breakthroughs for dealing with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other diseases. The same belief led 59 percent of California voters to pass a $3 billion ballot initiative in 2004 to fund stem cell research over a 10-year period.

Opponents of embryonic stem cell research argue that embryos are human beings and that they should no more be killed for research than adult humans should be killed to provide parts for transplants. The same question of the value and status of the embryo and fetus is at the heart of the debate over abortion.

Opponents of embryonic stem cell research also point to significant breakthroughs in adult stem cell research, such as the recent development of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) that do not require the use of human embryos but can be made from skin tissue. Not only does such a process lack the ethical problems of using embryonic stem cells, it also has the medical advantage of producing cells that are less likely to be rejected since they come from the same body to which they will be returning.

In the past, the process of developing iPS cells was questioned because of the use of viruses in the process. These viruses might cause the transplanted cells to become cancerous after the transplant. This problem may have been eliminated by recently announced procedures that do not require viruses to transform adult cells into these iPS cells.

Granted that the administration is going to allow the use of embryonic stem cells, how can the decision be made less ethically repugnant to those who find their use objectionable? Are there limits that can be put on embryonic stem cell research that most people, even their supporters, would recognize as appropriate? Here are some suggestions.

1. Embryos for research cannot be bought and sold. Embryos should not be created for the sole purpose of research. They should only come from excess embryos produced at fertility clinics that are scheduled to be destroyed anyway.

2. Before using human embryonic stem cells, researchers should show that the research they are doing cannot be done with non-embryonic stem cells.

3. Research using embryonic stem cells should aim at advancing toward the goal of using only non-embryonic stem cells in regenerative medicine. In other words, once the process of developing adult stem cells for treatments has been shown to be safe and reliable, any research in embryonic stem cells should be able to move seamlessly into the use of adult stem cells leaving the ethical problems behind.

These rules will not satisfy those who find any use of embryos ethically objectionable, but it will indicate that the Obama administration is trying to find some middle ground that gives some respect to the many Americans who find such research repugnant. In short, if science shows a way out of this ethical dilemma, we should follow it.

Thomas J. Reese, S.J., is Senior Fellow at Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University.

By Thomas J. Reese | 
March 7, 2009; 10:00 AM ET

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  • Concerned the Christian Now Liberated

    Father Reese,Well researched!!! And I support your recommendations!!!

  • nomilk

    The problem, Fr. Reese, is that the Obama administration doesn’t see any “ethical dilemma” in this situation.

  • Dave

    Simple solution to the problem of tax payer money funding stem cell research. On US tax returns, there is that box to check yes or no for the Presidential Election Campaign Fund. I think we should add one for stem cell research. However, the kicker is that we should keep track of who says yes and who says no. When cures are discovered through stem cell research, I would like to see how “ethical” the people who said no to stem cell research are when a cure is found as a direct result of the research that they opposed.

  • Nichole

    Paragraph 5, sentence 2: “their” should be “there”

  • lonecrone

    The Vatican does not get to tell my country what to do. Stick to advising your own followers and let the rest of us enjoy the benefits of science.

  • Son Reese

    This research could save the lives your god would not save. That is why you are afraid.

  • Judge C. Crater

    As usual, we find commentary from people who are convinced they know the mind of God. Father Reese, at least, has an excuse. The rest of you can tell us what other things God is thinking.

  • Robert

    So far all of this is hype and hope. Is it worth offending the morality of many people by this move? So far while there have been other countries that due not have the same sensibilities, there have no announced breakthroughs. I remember the same fanfare for interferon while I was growing up. At that time it was to be the cure all that would eliminate cancer.

  • lucy2008

    Unfortunately, Father Reese is ill-informed about the science. Adult stem cells are already differentiated into a class of cells (e.g. pertaining to epithelium) and can’t be used for other types of tissues. This is a narrow though important use.Embryonic stem cells and many cell lines made from them are and will be used for BOTH disease research and transplantation (developmental biology) studies to understand disease cause and solutions and to understand how to develop transplantation solutions. Adult stem cells are poor or non-effective tools for this work. Virgin undifferentiated cells from different genetic stocks (disease and non-disease) are needed. Second is the idea to use embryonic stem cells as biologics as actual treatment materials for disease or graft or other human ailment. Adult stem cells are severely restricted to be applied in this area because they are already somewhat differentiated. Father Reese just isn’t informed and misses the bigger picture. It isn’t surprising and he may mean well, but he isn’t a scientist.When humans can develop embryonic stem cells through a different path, then sourcing them through petri dish conception and development may not be needed. Until that time, let science not religion lead the way. Since most Americans do not have the narrow view as the Catholic Church, it is actually viewed as ethical to use these early-stage embryos for making human life better and reduce suffering on the planet. Most Americans do not believe handfuls of recombinent cells especially undifferentiated stem cells suffice as an individual human with political rights. Those cells are legally owned by the parents (unless released) and not by organized religions or the federal government.

  • scienceluvr

    In the 19th century religious people argued against organic chemistry research, saying there was a “vital force” inherent in biological material that precluded it from rational research.In the 21st century we are still dealing with Luddites who would retard progress and doom millions to suffer afflictions and disabilities that could be cured.

  • Warren Lockhart

    Opponents of embryonic stem cell research pretend to be supporting morality, but they are actually ignorant. I guess ignorance is bliss.Morality is about suffering, right? The collection of cells known as a 2-day old embryo is not a human life. It has the potential for human life, but with today’s technology, so do skin cells. According to this ignorant view, you participate in genocide every time you scratch your nose.Every anti-scientific, anti-intellectual or luddite attitude is solidly rooted in ignorance. Every time. We should press on with stem cell research with full speed. We should not ignore the scientists who still say that embryonic stem cell research is vital in order to understand the underlying molecular processes. We should oppose these religious and/or neo-conservative ignoramuses who would generate real suffering (=immorality) by holding biomedical research back.

  • Dean Corso

    Mr. Reese, by your comments I have to assume you’re relatively new to the embryonic stem cell debate. Just to help you understand, I don’t believe anyone has ever suggested creating embryos solely for the purpose of research. The reality has always been only using embryos that are scheduled to be destroyed from fertility clinics.

  • RJ

    You’re all idiots. The cells are discarded anyway. Go bible thumping somewhere else.

  • jimbo

    President Bush was the 1st president to authorize use of federal funds for stem cell research. Although this article does not contradict this, the wording is misleading by saying “…lifting the restrictions put on embryonic stem cell research by President George W. Bush in 2001…”

  • Indiana Pearl

    Adult cells that can be reverted to an embryonic state, that is, pluripotent, have exactly the same DNA configuration as an embryonic stem cell. The DNA from the mother and the father are both present in any cell of the body. So then what’s the big deal? A cell is a cell is a cell . . .

  • Anonymous

    RobertI guess you must be one of these people who get a kick out of emphasising the limits of science. Even in a thousand years when technology seems magical compared with now, science will still have its limits. Let’s just hope that there are no longer people such as yourself who worship the gaps in our knowledge so that you can squeeze in your own ignorant beliefs. In any case, your argument (if you could call it that) is based on a false assumption – that embryonic stem cell research is needlessly offensive. Take a regular look at physorg or sciencedaily to monitor the real therapies coming from this research.

  • Joan Leonard

    Thank you for this intelligent, balanced, common sense and ethical article. It is refreshing to read a point of view that has integrity. So rare today!

  • Stan G

    Fear of Offending someone’s morality is a not a valid reason for anything. If it offends your morality, don’t do it, watch it, read it or use it. But don’t tell some else he should not or can not. You see, that offends MY sense of morality.

  • Deb

    Once again, Fr. Reese is the voice of reason. I miss your guiding hand on America.

  • Socrates

    I don’t agree with the author’s second suggestion, that researchers should strive to advance their techniques towards not using embryonic stem cells. That would mean that some of the researchers are researching treatments to debilitating conditions and diseases — while a major portion of other researchers are spending their time researching how to stop using embryonic stem cells. They just need to be allowed to do the research that needs to be done, and to be able to do it freely. Obviously, using cells that are to be destroyed anyway is a good idea — the fact that they are to be destroyed should take away any further moral hindrances to the research. In the issue of embryonic stem cells (as opposed to the issue of abortion), the question is not when does life begin, but when is life clearly not present.

  • Adam

    There can be no true common ground when it comes to trying to satisfy both the interests of those with religious objections to embryonic stem cell research and those who find it to be an exciting and promising scientific frontier.The notions suggested by Father Reese are built under the belief that, when all is said and done, embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells can be utilized interchangeably. Scientists will not uncover the full spectrum of differences between embryonic and adult stem cells until this matter is thoroughly explored. And if scientists ultimately discover that in some or many important applications, embryonic stem cells must be used instead of adult stem cells, what then?Further, I cannot imagine that a focus on embryonic-to-adult stem cell research, across the board, is a viable approach for research laboratories. That is, the search for promising outcomes and applications is necessarily the first priority; labs are not interested in using time and money to explore different ways in which to conduct their science if there is not first research to show that the general methodologies will in fact yield good results to begin with.

  • Thomas

    “Granted that the administration is going to allow the use of embryonic stem cells, how can the decision be made less ethically repugnant to those who find their use objectionable?”To be blunt, who cares? I find the overarching reach of the U.S. military/industrial establishment “ethically repugnant” in the extreme, but my tax dollars continue to fund this Strangelovian nightmare. In fact, many (perhaps most) so-called “people of faith” enthusiastically support U.S. priorities vis a vis the military/industrial complex (which actually endangers and kills REAL PEOPLE), while preserving their moral outrage for matters surrounding abortion.The obsessive emphasis on protecting POTENTIAL human life (which is often no larger in scale than the period at the end of this sentence) by many “people of faith”–to the frequent exclusion of protecting living, breathing human life!–is what is truly morally objectionable.Until more “people of faith” figure out that the horse needs to be put back in front of the cart, their constant carping about “protecting life” will continue to fall on deaf ears as the half-considered twaddle it really is.

  • Jason

    Father Reese posed an opinion on this subject and backed up that opinion with his commentary. He did not ridicule persons with opposing opinions, nor did he belittle those same people. However, those who are of the opposite camp in this on-going debate stoop to name-calling and personal attacks against those with whom they disagree. Bible thumpers, ignorant, attacks against religious beliefs, etc. are just a few of the comments, comments that debase their arguments for they become personal attacks vs. the voicing of a differing opinion. To them it is agree with me or you are stupid, ignorant, a fool to believe in your religion etc. That itself is indicative of their real character – quite pitiful in my opinion.

  • Rachael Ryan

    Embryos are not killed to facilitate this research. They are naturally aborted pregnancies and the fetus is routinly put into a garbage disposal. Is this better than preserving a few non-specific cells for the possibility of saving anothers life? Come on.

  • Joe

    Mr. Reese’s proposed ethical guidelines for stem cell research are well intentioned but naive. Point 3 is a laudable goal but how will it influence funding of various research. Point 2 raises the question of what determines “cannot”, and who will decide the question. I left point 1 for last because I believe it to be the most contentious and naive. Of course, excess embryos from fertility clinics will be the first used, but what if the need for embryos is greater than the supply? What if scientists determined the only effective stem cells come from embryos that have not been frozen or otherwise stored? Selling Embryos? hmmm, may finally spark a real debate on selling organs for transplant.

  • Sonny Crockett

    Allow scientists EVERY method of stem-cell research and THEN proceed with the best method.Peace,

  • Justin B.

    Just what you’d expect from a Murdoch-owned media company. Can we move on already? Abortions are necessary and there is no invisible men in the sky to answer to, here, so let scientists find cures to humanitiy’s diseases so we can all live better!

  • Bruce

    The serious problem with stem cell technology is its real potential for extending human life at a time when there is a catastrophic imbalance in the natural world. An unappreciated broad spectrum species extermination and excessive even unsustainable human world populations. This technology just makes it worse by leveraging individual human life from seventy to seven hundred years through organ replacement.It’s not likely we will be able to manage this technology any wiser than the chemical or pharmaceutical industries.

  • Erin

    What rational reason is there to limit stem cell research? If stem cell research is causing anyone harm, let it be proven. Until then, let’s not craft laws out of ignorance and religious dogma.

  • Joseph

    Thank you for the article. As a proponent of stem cell research, I am heartened by the Obama administration’s reversal of the Bush administration’s strangling policies on stem cell study. There is absolutely no reason why we can’t find middle ground for the benefit of science and medicine. Due to ethical concerns in the beginning, my conscious leaned toward agreeing with those who cried foul over destroying what some consider to be human beings. However, now that science has found a way to continue research without the use of controversial stem cells due to iPS cells we can finally progress forward. I agree whole-heartedly with all of your suggestions, and hope the Obama administration will consider them greatly in creating the new policies concerning embryonic stem cell research.

  • Ramona

    I think that everything should have guidelines and ristricions that would keep it all ethical at some level. Even said that there is always ways to go around things like that, and the administation needs to keep a good eye on it. Not to be blind eyed as some have been in the past.

  • SPitt

    While I support the use of stem cell research, it should be noted that so far the only thing that has happened from the implantation of embryonic stem cells is that the person will develop tumors.It should also be noted that when it comes to stem cell research, the Chinese are very much advanced on their development. That for years in order to study these, doctors and scientists have had to migrate to China. Where does that leave us? With a less strong American health system, that in fact is no longer the cutting edge.

  • zorg

    Why try to placate religious extremists who will never be satisfied? If they had the chance, they’d burn scientists at the stake. They moderate their language slightly only when they’re not in power.Throughout the world, religious fundamentalists torture and kill, all the while shrieking that it’s somehow God’s will. It’s not credible for them to claim to believe life is sacred when they gleefully end it in horrifying ways. Religious extremists just don’t make good partners in government. Maybe we should have a separation of church and state.I understand Obama’s desire to be bipartisan, but he has to choose to work with those who actually want to work across the aisle. Forget about these zealots who can never be satisfied.

  • angel

    i believe that Pres. Obama is handling this subject as well as any person could, as I also believe he made a right decision.

  • Adam

    Supporters of the ideas suggested by Father Reese need to understand that the notion that even when cells are seemingly identical, right down to the DNA, they are *still* not identical, especially in this general realm of biology. “Dolly the sheep” was only successful after 277 failed attempts at cloning by that particular research group.

  • Scott

    There will always be some morality in laws. It is simply a question of whose morality we choose. Some may believe it is ok to rape a child, but we have encoded into our laws, and justly so, that that is wrong and will not be allowed. It is simply a question of where the line is drawn.I don’t think that people who believe that life begins at conception (something there is good scientific evidence for by the way), are suggesting that the research on embryonic stems cells be illegal. They are simply asking not to be forced to pay for it. I would not ask those who are pro-abortion to be forced to pay (through their taxes) for a crisis pregnancy center. And to respond to the write who suggests this, then cynically suggests that we would like to benefit from it, obviously you do not know how we think. If I were paralyzed, and was told the only way I could walk again was through a cure derived from the destruction of an embryo, I can say without hesitation that I would rather be paralyzed than go against my convictions. And I know that the majority of those I know who think like me would answer the same way.

  • rab

    “…but it will indicate that the Obama administration is trying to find some middle ground that gives some respect to the many Americans who find such research repugnant.”Many Americans find this repugnant ? Where did you get your information for this statement ?Maybe “many Americans” are looking forward to scientific breakthroughs so that diseases can be cured!

  • MAT GU 73

    I’m the mom of a son who was paralyzed in 98 at age 9. We immediately began learning all we could about treatment options both currently available and in the research stage. He was given Sygen, an experimental drug undergoing clinical trials at the time, which is no longer available, as funds ran out to get it out of clinical trials.Stem cell research was explored, but even back then, we heard of research using olfactory cells which had the same potential as the embryonic cells. I’m not a scientist, but I can’t help but wonder if all the discoveries that have been made when embryonic cells were not available would have been made, and how many more would have been made if funds were not diverted to the politics of making them available.We have been opponents of the use of embryonic cells for this research (including my son who is a physics major).It seems wrong to me somehow, that people can be for the use of taxpayer dollars to pay for research using embryos, to pay for abortions to kill the embryos, yet object to the use of our dollars to give any financial aid to “Otomom” who chose to use her embryos to give life…to who knows what future doctors, scientists, priests or even politicians!PS My son, although he still has physical issues with a leg and his hands, is mobile and thriving. Too bad Sygen can’t be revived! (and no,we and our six kids are not on welfare!)

  • JC

    I see no need for a middle ground. You can’t placate religious zealots. I have yet to find any religious radicals’ ethics the least bit ethical or reasonable.

  • willie

    Justin, the Washington Post is not “a Murdoch-owned media company”.Regarding Father Reese, he has made a good proposal based on his Jesuit background. My major objection to it is that same Catholic-Jesuit background. It is a brainwashed response based on teachings and moral principles that I do not accept. I think such teachings and principles should not be the sole basis for a governmental decision, which is how Dubya used them.

  • Robert Cole

    Another aspect to all this is the lack of laws dictating how many embryos can be manufactured by doctors.

  • RPS

    I’m a strong liberal, but I agree with this article. Finding a middle ground such as he suggests seems positive for both sides.

  • Millard

    There is no “ban on embryonic cell research.” There’s a ban on federal funding for these giant pharmecutical companies to get what Democrats usually term corporate welfare — taxpayer money. They can grind up all the embryos they want, on THEIR dime, if they think they’re so promising for cures. But there have been NO cures found from embryonic stem cells, and there are many from stem cells from other sources — which is another trick, not making a distinction between the two types of stem cells. So, this is great. Just remember the next time you hear someone bashing the big drug companies and medical conglomerates which party decided to lavish billions on them with no accountability. How digusting it is to give false hope to people with diseases and injuries.

  • Cliff Rainey

    The following adds tremendous expense and delay:2. Before using human embryonic stem cells, researchers should show that the research they are doing cannot be done with non-embryonic stem cells.Showing something “cannot be done” is virtually impossible!

  • Damon Hastings

    Researchers can create pluripotent stem cells from skin cells — however, the far more powerful *totipotent* stem cells still come only from embryonic tissue. Pluripotent stem cells are *not* able to become any type of cell in the body — only totipotent cells can do that. Limiting research to pluripotent cells at this stage would critically delay the development of life-saving therapies.

  • Ryan

    You remind me of the religious leaders who opposed vaccinations because they interfered with “God’s plan”. Stem Cell research represents (possibly) one of the biggest medical breakthroughs in decades, and you are willing to hold it back for the sake of indulging your own absurd, unsupported superstition. Do you have any idea of how many lives could be saved and improved by this technology? You should be ashamed of your opposition. You should be even further ashamed of your irrational, bronze-age, superstitious “reasons” for your opposition.If you oppose embryonic stem cells, then don’t get the miraculous treatments that it will yield in the future. You can have the religious miracles, and we’ll take the scientific miracles; I’ll bet you 20 bucks that I know who will win. You’re free to personally do whatever you like… by all means, hire a faith healer if that’s what you think works. But don’t try to impose your backward-thinking, ignorant values on the rest of us.To claim that a ball of cells less neurologically advanced than a housefly is a “human being” is logically indefensible. I suppose it is, then, to your benefit that you eschew logic for faith.Leave your obsolete superstitions in the past. Humanity is fast outgrowing “Santa Claus for grownups”, and I encourage you to join us.

  • Geoff

    Extra embryos conceived for fertility purposes are often discarded. Why not use them for research to benefit the sick, instead of tossing them? If embryos are human beings, then should we outlaw fertility practices? It makes no sense to oppose stem research on the grounds that it destroys embryos. Fertility clinics destroy embryos everyday. Abortion is worse and is legal.

  • Anonymous

    Scott — nobody is “pro-abortion”The fact that you use that term perpetuates the perception that you and people who think like you are ignorant and intolerant.

  • amsron

    If you assume condition one is met, you have to eliminate your second condition. It’s illogical to expect that researchers interested in examining the viability of embryonic stem cells should “Prove” anything beforehand. Both research avenues should be pursued.Your entire premise is flawed and openly biased.

  • Nitin

    I see it this way:This doesn’t sound logical at all. I think as long as scientists are not harming people and doing research in good faith, they should be allowed to do so, without any interference from Religious world. Let this be left to scientists to use embryonic cells or stem cells from adults. They are the right people to decide this rather than some Religious organizations.Religion and faith changes in every part of the world and from society to society, however science is always the same everywhere, because science is founded on reasons and logics not on imagination.

  • grizzly one

    Hey, if stem cells work, do it. The pope, catholic holy rollers, etc, they havn’t EVEN a CLUE. They ought to mind their own business.

  • doc paranormal

    Interesting commentary from someone who believes that the world was created in seven days. Such persons should leave science alone

  • annnort

    Bush did NOT STOP stem cell research. He merely said OUR TAXES would not pay for it. I DO NOT WANT MY TAXES to pay for stem cell research. That you all do not understand this tells me you can not make a judgement on whether BO is correct or not. You do not even know what the facts are!!

  • reality_checks_in

    Ah, the reeking hypocrisy of the religious Reich. Stem cells shouldn’t be used, but how quickly that fat Bible-thumping conservative will forget when the doctor says a new liver created from them could replace their cancerous one. Don’t believe it? Wait a few years and watch the aisle-switching and hand-wringing begin.

  • dennob

    So, if embryonic stem cells are human beings, presumably, they have a right to be born. Presumably, then they have a right to prenatal care. And, presumably, you support the procedures that recently resulted in the birth of octuplets to the mother of six other children, who she cannot support, and you are prepared to lend your financial support for all of these children. God bless you.

  • Alan Davis

    An embryo is not a human being. The only reason you think it is a human being becuase of your superstitious belief in a “soul”.

  • redwolf68

    Oh, love the partisanship, Millard…speaking of giving away billions of dollars without requiring accountability, just which party do you think it was gave all that money to the banks and Big Oil so that we could have the current economic crisis and ongoing pollution and global warming without accountability?! Spare us the Dem-bashing, if you don’t mind. “NO” cures from stem cell research…and I suppose you think they can be found overnight? Cures, for any disease, take YEARS of research, thus obviously requiring a good deal of money to keep going…but I’m sure you’d rather we continue to throw money at needless foreign wars and drive the country further into economic ruin? I, for one, would rather see money spent on stem cell research; I have diabetes, which I manage through diet and medication, but if they could find a cure out of an embryonic stem cell, I’d be the first in line. And it’s fair to mention that not all Republicans are against embryonic stem cell research–Nancy Reagan and Ron Reagan, Jr., are two supporters (if there’d been a cure found for Alzheimer’s, maybe our ex-President could have been spared much of the painful deterioration of his final years).

  • TC

    No one should find embryonic stem cell research ethically or morally objective. Thos who do are mentally deficient.

  • grizzly bear

    Subject: stem cells. The pope, holly rollers, all should mind their own business when it comes to stem cells. Those clowns don’t seem to realize that stem cells can save lives.GET-A-CLUE.

  • Adam

    The embryos used for stem cell research are those that would be disposed of during the process of in-vitro fertilization. If there’s an ethical problem with using those embryos to try and save lives, shouldn’t there be an even stronger opposition to them simply being discarded, and therefore opposition to in-vitro fertilization itself?

  • Alyosha1

    Ryan wrote:”To claim that a ball of cells less neurologically advanced than a housefly is a “human being” is logically indefensible.”Ryan, I think you need to take a biology class. By every scientific definition a human embryo is a living member of the species homo sapiens.Now, if for your own personal reasons you choose to believe that some human beings (members of the species homo sapiens, at whatever stage of development) are not “persons” and do not possess rights, you are free to have that belief. But recognize that it is YOU who are trying to impose your own non-scientific belief on the lives of other members of our species. If you look to history you will that those who try to classify some members of the human race as not counting as “persons” do not have a stellar track record (e.g. slavery, genocide, forced sterilizations, etc.). However, if that is the philosphical company you choose to keep, that is your right.

  • Mr. Objective

    Let me answer the question “Are their limits that can be put on embryonic stem cell research that most people, even their supporters, would recognize as appropriate?” with another question: Exactly who’s limits are you referring to and what about these appropriate limits?I’ve noticed that people who make 3rd grade grammar mistakes also tend to make 3rd grade logic mistakes. You’re telling us that the Obama administration should require limits for federal funding towards stem cell research (as if there aren’t any), but you don’t offer any alternative scenario. Why are we even assuming an alternative scenario is bad? It seems that you’re trying to moderate the debate over the use of stem cells… for some reason. What exactly is the point of this post and why did YOU feel the need to make it? Is it because you just happened to think up some concessions the administration might make regarding the funding of such research?

  • Scott

    Dear Anonymous,There certainly are folks who are in favor of abortion, and think that it should be legal and easily accessible. I know that they prefer to use the label “pro-choice” which is also true of them. But that make them no less pro-abortion. Let’s be honest here. Speaking of intolerance, I would ask you to honestly read the comments made even here and see who is being more tolerant of opposing view points, and who is indulging in name calling, insulting, and suggesting that the others point of view is completely without merit.Come now, let’s treat each other with civility, allowing others to have differing points of view without resorting to insults.

  • Gabrielle Lynn

    I’m an atheist who is against embryonic stem cell research. I don’t believe in souls or heaven or hell. However, I do believe that creating human embryos for what amounts to body parts is counter to where civilization should be heading. In the same vein, I felt it was wrong to take Terri Schiavo off of her feeding tube and let her starve to death. Whether you’re religious or not religious, life is sacred. It’s the most valuable gift, whether given by accident or an unseen creator. And it should be cherished as such.

  • jay temperton

    Human progress should not be held back by the few who are blinded by their narrow minds. It is a sad situation people like this author represent many in the population. We, as a civilization, lost 800 years during the Dark Ages, and there is not much time left before the time runs out to find a solution for the human race to remain an on-going concern.

  • nanyar

    Stem cells are no more human that a redwood seed is a tree. The earth is not flat and has been here for considerably more than the biblical allotment of 5000 years.I don’t care about how many angels fit on the head of a pin. I care about the quality of human life and using our skills and talents to extend a full and rich life experience to all those that we can.As humans we are joined by thought but separated by belief. We love those beliefs more than our children. Its time for us to put all the superstition, and cerebral constipation caused by theological Hocu Pocus behind us and become the best we can.

  • jay temperton

    Human progress should not be held back by the few who are blinded by their narrow minds. It is a sad situation people like this author represent many in the population. We, as a civilization, lost 800 years during the Dark Ages, and there is not much time left before the time runs out to find a solution for the human race to remain an on-going concern.

  • Patrick Laflamme

    Funny how the “middle ground” always seems to be squarely to the right of an issue and as in line with the christian extremists as those showing us the middle ground think they can get away with. My grandfather risked his life to fight fascism when the Nazi’s brought it forth; I’m rather glad he didn’t live to see how far we’ve let the new fascism come. Just because evil, greedy, spotlight seeking men and women hide behind a mask of “good christian values” and a perverted web hate and bigotry disguised as love; doesn’t mean we shouldn’t stand up to it. Take a good look at who these people held up for the world as thier voices at the cpac convention. Take a real good listen to the emotions, thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, actions, and intentions these people were praised as heroes for espousing and see the true evil we need to combat in this country.May sanity and balance return to my country soon, Blessed Be.

  • Annette Bell

    I support stem cell research because my son has Multiple Schlerosis. He does have good days but he has just as many days when he cannot walk, has pain and problems with vision. His 4 year old son has a 1 in 4 chance of getting the disease. My son is only 34 years old and is a living breathing person with a wife and a son. He wants to live a good healthy life and he wants his son to do the same. An embryo is not a breathing thinking person who works and has a family that is loved. So, by all means, go ahead with stem-cell research if if means that people may be cured of horrible diseases.

  • SCLL $3.00 PER SHARE SOON!!

    STEM CELL INNOVATIONS SCLL TO GO TO $3.00 AND THEN BUYOUT

  • SCLL $3.00 PER SHARE SOON!!

    STEM CELL INNOVATIONS SCLL TO GO TO $3.00 AND THEN BUYOUT

  • (R)

    I totally agree! I’m all for small government and the government not telling what to do. Until, or course, when people are doing things I personally find immoral. What ever that means. I am all for the government extending their tentacles into people’s homes, bedrooms and bathrooms. I want the government to carry out my vision of what I find moral and right according to my personal faith in God.More power to you!Hypocrites.

  • Subroutine

    Nonsense. Embryos should be given full citizenship and set free. I demand they be given a homeland in Northern Utah and recognized by the UN. But I’m not for supporting them….let ‘em get a job.

  • H. G. Winkleton

    Wow, another attempt by religion to restrict science! Yawn.

  • KenA

    I just need to ask. Would anyone be so opposed to this study if it would save your life or your family member? I think not.

  • Derek

    I actually support women being able to sell embryos for cold, hard cash. It’ll help the economy and instead of being aborted and clogging up a women’s clinic sink, at least the thing will go to some good use.

  • Robert Cole

    Hi Anonymous,

  • ifthethunderdontgetya

    Science is science.Religion is religion.I’m sorry, Fr. Reese, but our government has no business regulating science because of religious objections.

  • Dr. George Bryan

    I am shocked that Father Reese contradicts the teaching of the Church in this matter. The killing of the embryo is the killing of a human being.His argument that these embryos would be killed anyway is outlandish and could be applied to Nazi killing of Jews in deathcamp experiments where the victims “would have been killed anyway”. He waffles terribly here in his moral teaching as a man even as regards the natural law known by reason.As a priest who is by office to proclaim the teaching authority of the Church (by Faith in Christ’s guidance) he is a scandal to the whole Church and offers Obama the precise moral muddiness that he is looking for.Catholics in the U.S. as a result of men like Reese are ill-informed at best. The Jesuits have some deep soul-searching to do for the terrible harm so caused.

  • Adam Jorge

    Message to ANNNORT:So, you don’t want your tax dollar to be used to save lifes, but rather use it to pay for the killings around the world? Good for you.

  • Larry-T

    I, for one, am sick and tired of theocratic organizations attempting to impose their “moral dictates,” AKA Sectarian Doctrine, on the entire society. As far as I am concerned, science trumps religion.

  • WP

    The possibility of reasoned decisions, necessary for humanity to survive and progress, is diminished by absolutist preconceptions. While my views are, simply, pro-abortion, I think Thomas Reese’s proposals are an open beginning toward such reasoned communal decisions. His first suggestion, “Embryos for research…should only come from excess embryos produced at fertility clinics that are scheduled to be destroyed anyway,” seems a fair start to commonality between those who would protect life by curing disease and those who would be “pro-life” in other ways. However, suggestions numbers 2 and 3 in fact impose unreasonable burdens on research, obligating researchers to satisfy insatiable demands before actually proceeding with significantly advancing research. Could suggestion #1 be a fair agreement among those who are actually willing to meet others part way? (Otherwise, is suggestion #1 a misleading bait to get opponents in fact to give up their efforts?)

  • Qcdude3

    This argument was never truly about stem cell research. It has always been about abortion and any logical use of a fetus after its aborted remains objectionable to the pro-life crowd. The stem cell argument is artificial but no less important to the religious right. No rules or standards will make the use of killing potential people any more palatable. People need not get along on all issues, consensus although desirable is not absolutely necessary. When the people elected Obama they voted to begin using stem cells from embryos. More to the point science will not be denied, it will always advance…it’s our nature as humans to attack our present condition. If science can advance using embryonic stem cells it will happen, and those standing in it’s way will be run over.

  • DaveI

    At issue in the embryonic stem cell research debate are the conflicting stories people believe. One story is, “Life is about the physical body, and it begins at merging of a sperm and an ovum. Soul is created in this instant.”I wonder, how can the Divine Being, Soul, be created when two complementing physical cells merge? Isn’t the creation of eternal Soul the prerogative of God rather a man and a woman in the passion of sexual intercourse? What if our true nature exists independent of the bodies we use? Another story, believed by many around the world, is, “Life is about the spiritual being, Soul, and It is eternal and independent of the body. It exists before the body and it exists after the body. When a body is to the point that it can live outside it’s mothers womb, then the eternal being takes up residence.” This is the story I believe.What if the power of discovery about all aspects of our world is inherent in our divine nature? What if that power were given to us as eternal spiritual beings so that we could make our lives in human form better? What if the discoveries from embryos were a God-given gift resulting in healthier, happier, and more fulfilling lives?There are other stories that could be told. Just see some of the comments here that precede mine.But, fundamentally, the anti-embryonic stem cell movement is based on a theological story derived from one religion. Other religions have different stories. And those with no religion have even other stories. For the federal government to favor one religion’s story over all other perspectives is tantamount to the promotion of that religion. Bravo to Mr. Obama for recognizing that a secular government can not use any religion’s beliefs as the basis for its policy decisions.I personally thank God and President Obama for the freedom individual researchers will now have to exercise their conscience and convictions and be free of the limitations of a specific group’s religious belief.

  • Anonymous

    well, gosh if you had a dream that abortion is wrong then we should limit stem cell research. Who could argue with that logic?

  • Asher

    Know what I find even more interesting than the good points the author made here? The cruelty of commentors who see things differently. Ok, so you have no problem with embryonic stem cell use… your business. But such name calling and disrespect for people who believe differently than yourselves? Wow…If one believes in a higher power, it is their right to believe so. Same as it is the right of another to believe we evolved from primordial ooze. One is right, the other wrong, and just who, none of you can say with absolute certainty. So, while it is debated out, in the venue of stem cell research or elsewhere, why not try to be kind in your disagreement? Belittling another’s view and making fun does nothing other than to show how arrogant and self-absorbed humanity often can be. If your views are correct, then I would certainly hope you would have evolved above playground name calling. Maybe the fact that you haven’t speaks even more than your ugly words…

  • Jolyn

    I sigh out loud as I think to myself that people should be required to take AT LEAST an intro, university-level, biology course before even being allowed an opinion on embryonic stem cell research. The more the world is opened to you, the more you realize how easily reconcilable two seemingly different, but SENSIBLE beliefs can be. Yes, that includes religious and scientific beliefs. The clash only occurs when uneducated, careless dogma with no logical progression begins to turn arguments circular. We’ve all been guilty at one point or another… scientists, Catholics, Catholic scientists, or none of the above. What is NOT reconcilable is the view of a hypocrite. If you can successfully deny, on your moral grounds, whatever good comes of stem cell research down the line when you are the one in need, then I stand corrected.

  • Ray

    Only embryonic stem cell have been denied Federal funding. Private industry can fund this kind of research as it does research using other stem cells. The reason it does not fund embryonic stem cell research is that private industry has determined it is a dead end. This will not stop money hungry “researchers”. If business won’t give them the money they’ll pick the pocket of the taxpayer.

  • Pedantic Twit

    1. Why? What possible ethical or moral import could the purchase of embryos have?2. Why? Why should they have to do exhaustive research into a set of unknown alternatives with unknown and potentially unknowable cardinality?3. Why? This is no middle ground. It is tacitly accepting that embryonic stem cell research is an evil.

  • Mike

    No, the “embryos” are not by any evidence (and spare me the religious mumbojumbo…), a “human being”. What they are, is a small collection of cells, that possess the Genetic Coding that if implanted , may become a “human being”. The bulk of these Frozen Embryos are not ever implanted in a prospective mother, but are discarded to the tune of approx. 400,000 per year by FLUSHING THEM DOWN THE LAB DRAIN… Apparently, FLUSHING THEM is OK with Hypocritical Religiondom in this country, but using them for healing is not… As to the “Theologians”, seems like the “buying and selling of life” (i.e. Slavery) was pretty well thought of in their biblical references. So tell me Mr. “Theologian”… How much can I get for my sister???…hmm?

  • Mike

    No matter how one looks at this issue it’s murder…. it disgusts me that we are going to have to put up with our newly elected liberal murders for 4 yrs. I do not want my taxes to be used for abortions here or anywhere. My taxes are also being used in Mexico to support qabortions and now they want to use our tax money for stem cell research, give me a break what’s wrong here people it’s not research it’s murder.

  • Don Arsenault

    Fr. Reese;There is NO middle ground… “Thou shall not kill”… remember?

  • Mike

    No matter how one looks at this issue it’s murder…. it disgusts me that we are going to have to put up with our newly elected liberal murders for 4 yrs. I do not want my taxes to be used for abortions here or anywhere. My taxes are also being used in Mexico to support qabortions and now they want to use our tax money for stem cell research, give me a break what’s wrong here people it’s not research it’s murder.

  • RCharles

    Scott: “…. life begins at conception (something there is good scientific evidence for by the way), …”The question isn’t when “life” begins but when we are dealing with a human being that deserves government protection. Clearly this is NOT at conception.Nature discards about half of all naturally occurring embryos, discarded if too late in the cycle, due to hormone imbalance or whatever. If nature is so cavalier about any individual embryo there is no reason for man to have stricter rules.The embyros used for stem cell research are surplus, left over from in vitro fertilization. If they aren’t used for research they are discarded; research and no-research yields the same outcome, which is the same outcome nature gives to about half of all naturally created embyros.President Obama is correct in removing the religious distortions and illogical controls Bush planted in government scientific work and funding.RCharles

  • Lojiko

    The author fails to add that Professor Robert Lanza, medical director of Advanced Cell Technology said: “We have shown for the first time you can create human embryonic stem cells without destroying the embryo and thus without destroying its potential for life.”Using spare human IVF embryos, the researchers removed single cells from them, employing the same procedure used for pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), a technique that has been used in IVF so cells can be removed from the embryo and tested for genetic disorders.Mr. Reese is obviously not nearly as informed as he should be if he’s going to have a strong opinion in this debate.

  • Bob Stone

    Bush and the radical right’s ethical position has always hinged on their opposition to the destruction of embryos for research while ignoring, without a thought, that many embryos were simply flushed down a toilet if not used. While the radical right has always opposed embryonic stem cell research I can’t find any evidence that they have made any effort to prevent the destruction of these embryos in general.The confused ethics of the radical right seems to be that they have no opposition to flushing embryos down the drain but universally oppose using embryos for research and the greater good.It seems to me if I were a donor to an embryonic cell I’d prefer it was used for research as opposed to being discarded like yesterday’s mail.

  • Raul Pedraza

    As a paralyzed veteran confined to a wheelchair I am not ashamed to hold out lots of hope on stem cell research. I am greatly encouraged by loads of research showing amazing progress in spinal cord injured individuals and know for a fact that diabetes has been cured by stem cell injections into the pancreas. There is also hope for patients suffering from Alzheimers, Parkinsons and more. Do not limit science allow it to be an economic engine for our country moving forward and more importantly allow it to bring better lives to millions of already born Americans. I find it repugnant that religious zealots have been allowed to put us eight plus years behind where we should already be. Thank you President Obama for keeping another of your campaign promises. A President with both intellect and integrity imagine that. Obamanos! I plan on dancing with my beautiful wife one day before I check out.

  • Teni

    The idea that this isn’t going to get out of control is ignorant. During the seventy’s there were aborted babies kept in fishtanks alive so that “scientists” could experiment on them. I have no doubt that embryos will be grown just for the purpose of harvesting their organs. But hey, if we abort pain feeling 20 to 40 month along “contents of the uterus” right now.. who can say what these “doctors” will do?

  • who cares

    its fine use stems cells ok

  • Jershington

    As a stem cell researcher myself, studying the regeneration of neurons in rat models, I’ll make you religious crazies a deal:from now on, I’ll baptize the HES cells before I flush them.Science can go on and your precious cells (which cannot even become real human beings if implanted) will enjoy an eternity worshipping at the feet of your hebrew sky god in heaven.

  • Tom

    Georgetown has no credibility on anything that is pro-life. They supported Obama and pander to the left like no other university. My recommendation is that they take down the crucifies and stop making believe that are a Catholic institution.

  • PirateRo

    So let me understand – the argument is that we shouldn’t for religious reasons (which I reject totally out of hand) and BECAUSE this nonsense was the stated reason for withholding funding for research and the technology has not yet been developed we should abandon it? RIDICULOUS!I do NOT AGREE. I totally support YOUR DESIRE not to use this technology for YOURSELF. But I absolutely REFUSE to allow your religious notions to be legislated to ME. Take your god and his cloud and tell your story walking.I will HAPPILY support embryonic stem cell research. I will HAPPILY make use of this technology for myself and for MY FAMILY. A family which needs NO PROTECTION from YOU or your notions of idiocy, ignorance and superstition.

  • PirateRo

    So let me understand – the argument is that we shouldn’t for religious reasons (which I reject totally out of hand) and BECAUSE this nonsense was the stated reason for withholding funding for research and the technology has not yet been developed we should abandon it? RIDICULOUS!I do NOT AGREE. I totally support YOUR DESIRE not to use this technology for YOURSELF. But I absolutely REFUSE to allow your religious notions to be legislated to ME. Take your god and his cloud and tell your story walking.I will HAPPILY support embryonic stem cell research. I will HAPPILY make use of this technology for myself and for MY FAMILY. A family which needs NO PROTECTION from YOU or your notions of idiocy, ignorance and superstition.

  • Kathy

    I wonder if the cafeteria Catholics that voted for Obama are beginning to feel a little uneasy about their choice.

  • Bruce

    my dear friends, in a world where we all can live, love, and believe in the ways that we want means that we can’t take the same from each other. or maybe we don’t want that world…maybe we want to be able to tell others how to live, love, and believe. then who gets to make the rules? the majority? the ones with guns? a terrible fate, a rational brain and a feeling heart.

  • John Rollers

    It is funny that we go around the world fighting religious extremists using Federal Dollars, but let these home grown religious extremists to dictate what our Tax Dollars can do. We should let these religious zealots to stay in their church, stop interferring in politics, or declare them terriosts.

  • Jack May

    Tell people ahead of time if a treatment option is based on stem cells along with the effects of using or not using that treatment. Let them decide what they want to do. If not using the stem cell based treatment could lead to their death and they choose not to use the treatment, it is OK. It would be evolution in action and may improve the quality of people in our society.I think we would find that as a person approaches death, the importance of their “moral” beliefs would change radically.

  • Scott G.

    It seems to me that the crux of this article is to find a way of avoiding the “ethical problems” associated with using embryonic stem-cells for research. Is there really an ethical problem here, or is it more like an imagined problem?People who oppose embryonic stem-cell research, as Reese points out, often argue that embryos are human beings – and therefore should not be subjected to the destruction that will occur as part of the research process. In fact, (and to the surprise of many) they are not human beings. They are merely a mass of undifferentiated cells (albeit, human cells) that do not have any sort of awareness or a developed central nervous system, and cannot feel pain and suffering — unlike many patients who agonizingly wait for the benefits of this research — and unlike the many laboratory animals that ARE fully grown, do feel pain, and are subjected to varying forms of torture that we somehow find acceptable (as long as the end result is a benefit to us).I think we should re-examine what it means to suffer – and ask ourselves, is it OK to set restrictions on this research if that means others will go on suffering.

  • Scott

    One last comment.My daughter was one of those “left over” embryos. A wonderful couple donated the embryos to us and thus enabled us to have a child. There is another option besides destroying the embryos, one that values life. We chose not to try in-vitro fertilization because we believe that it did not treat life with the proper respect. I know people may disagree with us, but we are consistent in our beliefs. If some who seem to claim we are all hypocrites took the time to get to know us, they would find that to be the case with most of us. I know that many embryos do not survive to the point of implanting. Just as people die at all ages. But that does not change my belief that we should not be the ones to destroy them.And, by the way, I find destroying embryos just as morally wrong as using them for research.

  • Matt Fahrner

    I would be willing to agree, except that the embryos being used are from IVF clinics that would otherwise be destroyed anyway. It’s a bit disingenuous to show concern about using these for something that arguably can save lives when otherwise they would almost literally be thrown in the trash.If those against stem cell uses were also against the IVF destruction of embryos in as public a way as stem cell usage, then I would be more willing to listen to their concerns. However as it stands it seems nothing more than an arbitrary dogmatic viewpoint based on the fashion of the moment. If it were logically consistent then I would have more sympathy, but ignoring the IVF trashing of the same embryos makes it simply hypocritical.

  • Ann

    It is a scientific fact that human life begins at conception. So why is it somehow “anti-science” to work to protect embryonic lives that have scientifically been declared to be human? Here are two facts: 1. no successful health treatment has ever come from embryonic stem cell research, while hundreds of treatments have come from adult stem cell research 2. The youngest and weakest members of the human family will be killed using our tax dollars when Obama makes this decision and funding is awarded to those pursuing this line of research. It is the ultimate form of tyranny for someone to decide to kill a human life because they want to extract its cells for research.

  • Frank

    Isn’t it just o.k. to kill any number of babies for the greater good? – Think of the the 100.000+ Iraqis or the 3 million Vietnamese that we sacrificed to free their countries. Let’s call that foetus tissue “collateral damage” in the “War of Cancer” and even the Reps will just be fine with it …

  • alannah

    i like you. You are the best.

  • Robert Cole

    Bruce: Actually, after a cleaver blog and a few Mark Twainian jokes, I thought about writing the Congress requesting they declare me “Caesar of the United States”.

  • DJ

    How ironic is that our country fought a civil war partially over slavery and then decades of civil rights fight to see an african american elected to the highest office in the land and enact a new policy that enslaves another class of people. The proposed limit then end embryonic stem cell research is niave at best. Once started down the slippery slope who is going to stop it?

  • CHRISTOPHER REEVE

    HELLO down there on Earth I am up here in heaven crying tears of joy because someday soon those who suffered like I did with tragic spinal cord injuries will one day soon be able to recover and live a full life. I am also delighted to think that so many other maladies may be on there way to cures and that our nation may someday soon be back on top when it comes to biotechnology. Can anybody tell me what happened to that George W. fellow who was doing the pro lifers favors while killing and maiming hundreds of thousands of Americans and Iraqis due to a set of lie he told America? If you concur with me send contributions to the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis or the Christopher Reeve Foundation. Give Peace and Science a chance.

  • Marc in Colorado

    A well-thought and tempered article. If the new administration would consider having a post of “Ethics Czar”, Fr. Reese should be high on the list of candidates.

  • Shawn

    As a lapsed Catholic, I believe the church should put its money (leftover after paying its abuse victims) to helping Octumom raise her children. After all, isn’t she the poster child for how the church wants all those frozen used?

  • Jeff White

    I am a Texas republican who strongly supports the use of federal funding for all forms of stem cell research w/o limitations . I am not sure the Christian Right in the world should preach about ” human beings ” being killed – please review your history over the last 2000 years !!!

  • Bruce

    beware the Ides of March, Caesar!

  • Miron

    I think we should re-examine what it means to suffer.***************************I don’t think you are qualified to raise this question. Last time it was Dr. Mengele who took this lofty goal. Nice to see US president to lift the broken flag from the garbage bin and raise it over the house of Union.

  • Lupe

    Human progress is such a misleading term. To what does humanity progress? Nothing really. To what aim is the progress that this sort of research brings? Merely for people to have most pleasure possible. People leap on cures of for their miseries and will most certainly grovel for a cure for death itself.Granted many religious nuts fall into this category as well, as already noted by many non-religous nuts who seem bent upon reaching a society of human nirvana. But there will always be suffering and death is a part of live. Anything that eliminates death and disease will dampen the significance of life, though in what way is not necessarily forseeable.Thankfully, not all people of religion are such complete hypocrites. And people without religion are not all such ecstasy-seeking fools.Is avoiding death better than creating life? Perhaps it is if potential life seems to be going to waste. But let us not go so far as to hold potential life to be worthless merely to lengthen existing life and reduce its value as well.And abortion is not necessary, it is convenient. Less pain than adoption. Less POTENTIAL misery for the would be child. Sums up the motives of those for such things quite nicely. Obviously we already know the motives of those against it, those mindless religious folk, yes?

  • Ed

    If God is responsible for everything, then God is also responsible for embryonic stem cell research, as well as every action taken by any animal, human or celestial body. God is responsible for death, disease, murder, accidents, starvation, rape, and every other evil on the planet. God created and permits the Devil to exist. God could eliminate any branch of science with just a thought, yet he doesn’t. Logically then, if something exists, it is God’s will that it exist – and this necessarily includes science, stem cell research and everything else which religions nuts claim is evil.You can’t have an all-powerful creator who is only partially responsible. Either you assign him complete responsibility for everything, or none at all.

  • Robert Cole

    Et Tu?

  • DB

    Hey America, lst’s insist the government fund the financial and infrastructural rebuilding of America (somehting we ALL can use) before funding controversial projects such as this.

  • Bob

    Whether Liberal or Conservative, most of the posters here don’t have the slightest idea of what stem cells are. Pluripotent is not totipotent.Please google the vocabulary or concepts that are unfamiliar to you. (Maybe even read a textbook or research article. Many research articles are available for free on Pubmed.org)It’s disgusting to see such strong opinions expressed here that are so clearly dogmatic — from both sides. It takes very little effort to become basically familiar with the science… and then your comments won’t sound so ridiculous.

  • Lost in Texas…

    Seems strange that the religious zealots so rabidly fighting stem cell research are more than likely supporters of war, capital punishment etc. You only have to look at the bible to find the origins of hate an genocide. I think it comes down to a basic battle they are waging against science in general and this is the latest attempt at trying to stop any practice that helps us understand the origins of life or the creation of organs etc from basic stem cell building blocks. The more we understand science and creation people will cling less an less to ancient destructive, racist and sexist religions…this is something Church Incorporated can’t handle.

  • Dr. George Bryan

    In my previous post focused on the harm that Jesuit Father Reese is causing, the lack of space did not permit the position we should be taking in the stem cell development. It is clear that adult stem cell research has already demonstrated such effective promise that it is the only position to be approved by any thinking American.Instead of Reese’s straddle, we must declare adult stem cell research the only option – understanding that with funding focused on it added remarkable benefits can quickly result. Embryonic cell research is not an option since it involves a killing of a human being – a contradiction of our foundational Declaration and our identity as a Nation. That clear yes as contrasted with the clear no to death is the essential message.”Lesser-evil” morality does not apply here. Mushy-minded and mealy-mouthed blogs such as Reese’s are destoying our children and the Country they as should grow up in. No to death’ yes to Life. Catholics are true Americans.

  • RD

    ED: Brilliant comment, I agree whole-heartedly. It’s perfectly fine for people to be religious, we are all entitled to our beliefs. However, if people believe something they should try to avoid being hypocritical, which unfortunately is all too common.

  • DRS

    When will people wake up?Embryonic Stem Cell Research entails the killing of human beings for the sake of HARVESTING their stem cells. There has been no breakthrough yet with embryonic stem cells and there never will be.Adult stem cell research, on the other hand, is completey ligitimate and is producing results.Embryos are human beings. The DEMONCRATIC party must not continue on this path of DARKNESS.Those promoting this behavior are accomplices to MURDER.MURDERERSWhy is the DEMONCRATIC party always on the WRONG side of GOD?With the DEMONCRATIC agenda being shoved down our throats today, it is clearly not possible to be a Catholic DEMONCRAT. Killing babies (embryos and fetus), pushing gay rights, and the general “anything goes” agenda.I wish all priests would refuse the Eucharist to those politicians who are scandalizing our country and church.

  • D MOORE

    While I find the comments by Mr. Reese laudable for building a bridge between those in favor of stem cell research and those opposed, I find fault with his reasoning. Time and again whenever we put constraints in place someone will find a way to frustrate the spirit of the law. Who’s to judge what is and isn’t necessary in the pursuit of science the person looking to do the reseach( why bother), a panel of supposed experts including those of divergent opinions and backgrounds(unworkable), congress(laughable), or perhaps a science czar(republican or democrat, conservative or liberal, we can’t pick a judge without arguing the politics of the person in question, forget their qualifications)? None of the above would be satisfactory as each would have an agenda. Either we allow stem cell research or we don’t. There is no appeasing those vehemently opposed and pretending there is only leads to problems for those involved in such research when trying to comply with arbitrary laws or guidelines. Personally I favor the research and would look to those involved to establish voluntary guidelines and ethics, without condemning anyone for wanting to learn and advance the cause of human knowledge. Yes, there are limits in all things but, what they are needs to be determined by the individuals themselves not by someone dictating to them based on their personal beliefs. There will always be someone who will find fault with anything because of what they believe to be right and those who will wonder what all the fuss is about. Let each work out what is right for them as long as they do not force others to believe as they do for we are a nation that believes in freedom both of belief and of religion as well as personal freedom not a nation ruled by any one belief. If we succumb to intolerance we become like those we fight against in the middle east and elsewhere and that idea is abhorrent to me.

  • John

    Why is the Feds funding something that really has economic consequence for a number of years. Just gives some researcher a handful of fed grants that have no chance of being paid back in our life times.

  • BruceR

    Ok, before positing that your religious choice be used as the basis for formulating policy, law, and the progress of science, and to those who would demand that scientists prove beforehand that only embryonic research would provide the desired result, I would demand that you:Produce your god. Schedule an appearance of the dude himself, a couple angels, and a bunch of souls from aborted babies whining about not having a chance to be born and starve to death. I want the press there, and I want to see some tricks. Until such time as you perform this small task, shut your silly faces. If someone chooses to believe in an invisible sky guy, with no shred of evidence or logical consistency, and subsequently claims the right, based on that belief, to dictate the activities of people who have not chosen to be self delusional, then that first someone is insane. Simple enough. Your ‘opinion’ has no bearing on the real world. You are to be ignored. Just shut up. And no, I don’t have to respect you or your myth. Because you just made it all up. It’s like Scientology, with dresses.

  • Michael Small

    1. The Earth is flat. If the pope and other religious “leaders” had their way, the people of the world would still believe the above statements as being true. As far as I’m concerned, medical treatments that have been discovered through scientific research should be witheld from religious lunatics who oppose science. The absolute pinnacle of hypocrisy is reached by any person opposing scientific research on religious grounds and then seeking medical treatment when they become sick.

  • kim le

    I applaude and support Obama administration rules trying to find the ways to satisfy all sides. I hope and pray that Mr. Obama will always be safe and sound to lead our country back to the prosperous country that it used to be. However, I do not think that he will win over with the oposition, because they do not want him to start with. If the oposition side is so concern about killing embryos as they think like killing human beings, then why they so oppose most if not all programs that will help “real” human beings like funding programs for scholarships, free lunches for poor kids, etc, or people that are starving around the world. I think that God tell us to help existing people, not “future” people.

  • Michael Cook

    There seems to be a thread of argument against sacrificing a few cell blobs to save the lives of others. The argument holds that we SHOULD NOT put one life over another.Rubbish, our medical system has been doing this for years usually at the behest of the same groups pushing to end stem cell research. If we took the enormous amounts of money it requires to keep granny alive for those last few months (or Teri Shavio) and used it for preventive care, what would the net result be?We have a long history of this sort of behavior, see it for what it is.

  • Bernardo

    ” any research in embryonic stem cells should be able to move seamlessly into the use of adult stem cells leaving the ethical problems behind.”For Christians like myself, the ethical problems are never “left behind”. I still refuse the vaccines that were developed using embryos aborted 40 YEARS AGO, (Rubella and Chickenpox are examples), as do tens of thousands of other parents in the U.S. as well. It is a shame that I have to put my child at risk because the FDA has not approved the “non-tainted” vaccines used in places like Japan.The conscience of many people like myself will never accept any treatment that has embryos are part of their development, even life-saving treatment. Give me ethical medicine, or give me death. It’s perfectly logical to me.

  • Michael

    How many opponents of stem cell research were also offended at the California octomom? Many–likely most–embryos in the banks are not ultimately used for fertilization in the womb. For that matter, the vast majority of a female’s eggs go wasted. So how is stem cell research immoral? They are unfertlized cells: that is all.

  • Bruce

    what an irony…here we are, rich and spoiled Americans (excuse the assumption that we’re all Americans here, please),debating stem cell research, so quick to judge and label others who think and believe differently than themselves. and in the world, people, adults and children (and i’m only going to mention that there’re other living and non-living things that are involved too), dying of disease, violence, starvation…and more. i pray that all the world will one day, with open minds and hearts, understand what’s important, life and love, and act accordingly. my friends, the answers to the questions are so close and yet we can’t see. we have the greatest chance of bringing peace to the world (if not us, then who?) please take a moment of your busy day and help a stranger…a smile will do. thanks.

  • Jim

    Interesting article and appreciated. Just odd that opposition to embryonic cell research automatically labels one a religious nut. I could just as arbitrarily argue that it is scientific progress to raise children or clones for spare parts and label anyone opposed as a religious nut. After all, think of the lives that could be saved if we could have genetic doubles to provide spare body parts! Why would anyone be against research or practice that sould save lives. As soon as we decided the value of life is determined by a person’s attitude toward it rather than the fact that life itself is sacred, then anything really is OK if enough people can just convince themselves it is. Now I just have to find federal funding to make myself a couple clones in case my heart or kidneys give out.

  • willie

    “If I were paralyzed, and was told the only way I could walk again was through a cure derived from the destruction of an embryo, I can say without hesitation that I would rather be paralyzed than go against my convictions.”Scott, I don’t bellieve this for a minute. You are just spouting “principled” goulash to make yourself seem like a moral person. And it isn’t working.

  • J S Austin

    I am a non-believer, I believe in evolutions, I have a Ph.D in Science, and still I totally agree with Thomas Reese on this issue. I think the Bush administration’s total ban on Embryonic Stem cells is more ideological than practical, but Obama administration can seek cautiously see a middle ground.I don’t think there is much merit on human embryonic stem cell research. Make no mistake, I support embryonic stem cell research, if they are not human cells. I support human stem cell research, if they are not embryonic. I just don’t see that value of stem cell research that is both embryonic and human. Our human cells are 99% identical to those of mouse and other primates, because we are close relatives. Most of the basic research can be done on animal cells. And the embryonic stem cell research is hard to apply to medicine. If you want to get a transplant of cells identical to those in your body, one has to first clone a human cell, grow it to an embryo, and then destroy it. Destroying embryo is unethical to some people, but in addition to that, it has to perform human cloning. And I believe human cloning has more ethical problems than destroying frozen cells from fertility clinics. And there are technical reasons. I have not heard any successful human cloning. This cloning technique is very difficult to apply. Maybe impractical to massively apply general medicine. I believe induced pluripotent cells are much more successful path to stem cell treatment. It does not involve embryo cells, and it does not involve human cloning. It is advancing rapidly since it is discovered in 2007.I think this is an issue that those left and right can agree or at least compromise in the middle ground.

  • eric

    as a supporter of embyonic stem cell research i agree almost completely with this article. number 3 is kinda iffy depending on the details of the particular research, but the first 2 rules are very reasonable and should be implemented imo.

  • Carl Johnson

    Science has historically informed us of the facts that can lead to ethical decision-making. The idea of destroying embryos at the virtually zygote stage can become less repugnant to people when they look at the matter rationally:After conception the zygote which is really a collection of cells can divide into multiple embryos (twins or more)even after a couple weeks. What does that tell you about the potential for human life at this time period? Was there a “soul” that was destroyed upon twinning? Early stage embryos are destroyed every day by nature. Is man’s intentional destruction of them not just for enjoyment (longer life for instance) but quality of life of living breathing, suffering human beings free from debilitating and terminal illnesses such as Alsheimer’s a bad thing in this light? The stage of development we’re looking at for research does not include a brain (awareness) a nervous system, so what you’re talking about is Potential human life, not human life with individual personality, function or “soul” if you will.If scientists are telling us they need to do this research at least as a comparison to adult stem cell, then it’s important we get on with it without mythological shackles standing in the way.

  • Anonymous

    Penises

  • LOL

    I laugh out loud at these holier than thou so called “believers” who think that their all knowing all seeing all powerful God, did not give man the very methods of finding cures that have saved millions of lives. Just the same as they must presume that he has no power over a person’s choice of wether or not to have an abortion. Those who claim to have so much faith in God, apparently have very little faith in his power to decide if a child is born or not, or if the fluid from a fornication can be used to cure cancer or parkinson’s disease.

  • Scott G.

    What bothers me most about people of Reese’s mindset is that they’d much rather see my pet cat killed than to subject the tip of a needle to sterilization if, in their minds, there was a single embryonic stem cell on that needle tip — of course, how would one know?

  • Dan McClain

    To all of the anti embryo stem cell research opponents, you are dead wrong because you put more value on a microscopic cells than on a living, breathing fully conscious human being that is in desparate need of help. It simply defies belief that you can even think this way. It sickens me for the holier than thou crowd to try to impose their limits.Those stem cells are not living breathing human beings! I see absolutely NO ethical issues using embryonic stem cells for research. There are other areas where ‘bio-ethics’ should come into play but not this area.

  • YWS

    Research does not require a ‘middle ground’. Let those who object not reap any of the benefits of stem cell research if they so chose.

  • Juan Montesinos

    Thomas, I certainly hope that the President adopts the conciliatory spirit he claims drives his policies. Following your advice would be a clear sign that he is doing so.I am afraid that our President has already forgoten half of the people that elected him, choosing to follow very confrontational paths in matters of life and ethics.Keep your voice loud. He might hear.Juan

  • Coffee Brown

    The first rule seems reasonable enough, though it might be a good idea to allow a process to apply for medically necessary exceptions. It’s hard to write a rule that doesn’t occaisionally create a parodox or clash of goals.

  • Larry M

    Your excellent suggestions probably mirror what researchers would do in any case since I believe that they are ethical, honorable and minded people. You are right in saying that opponents will not be satisfied with such measures, even if they will mean that research using embryonic cells is a temporary practice. Part of this may be the American need for instant gratification. I suspect that a bigger issue is the deep mistrust that these “hot button” issues engender in people. Compromise is viewed as a prelude to surrender. The NRA opposes even common sense gun control because the supposedly fear that it will be only the first step to mass confiscation. Pro choice advocates are reluctant to agree to any limits on abortion because they believe that they will be only an interim step by pro life advocates whose real desire is a total ban on abortion. Whether the motives imputed to the other side are real or imagined is immaterial – the perception and the fear is there. Unless we can develop a basic degree of trust between opposing sides, we are unlikely to reach any kind of compromise that does not leave one side deeply angered.

  • Marc Country

    How about a program of moral education for the people who object to this research. That way, they would get educated, and the research would go forward. A win-win!

  • Anonymous

    I must have missed the part about Embryonic Stem Cell when I read the bible, can you please tell me where it says that they are alive?Why are Embronic Stem Cell sacraed, but the lives of our soldier and the enemies are not?How do religious groups in America get away with being so ridiculously hypocritical?I am a nice person and I respect people who differ in beliefs from myself, but I am tired of seeing our government bow to religious interests. With all due respect Mr. Reese, there is no reason why we should create policy that singles out Christianity as deserving of special privilege, or any other religion or secular interest. I would very much like it if the government could craft policy that did not offend those who do not believe in science, but America will not continue to dominate the world (if we still do) in Science and Technology when we are disregarding our scientists viewpoints in favor a religious group.

  • BlueTwo1

    Embryos either are or are NOT human beings. Scientifically, they are proto-human beings. What is a human being? A human being is a species of animal with a sophisticated nervous system that permits it to figure out stuff do things better than other animals. Or, a human being is a creature, not an animal, that miraculously comes into existence by the Will of God. God puts a soul into each embryo as it comes into existence at the point where sperm meets egg. Since each embryo has a soul, it is a person, with all the rights appertaining thereto. After said person leaves the womb, however, most of the rights disappear. How can the decision be made less ethically repugnant to those who find use of embryonic stem cells objectionable? Suppose every bite you put in your mouth has a soul. Will your ethics permit you to stop eating? Prove asparagus has no soul.

  • Bob Threw

    I must have missed the part about Embryonic Stem Cell when I read the bible, can you please tell me where it says that they are alive?Why are Embronic Stem Cell sacraed, but the lives of our soldier and the enemies are not?How do religious groups in America get away with being so ridiculously hypocritical?I am a nice person and I respect people who differ in beliefs from myself, but I am tired of seeing our government bow to religious interests. With all due respect Mr. Reese, there is no reason why we should create policy that singles out Christianity as deserving of special privilege, or any other religion or secular interest. I would very much like it if the government could craft policy that did not offend those who do not believe in science, but America will not continue to dominate the world (if we still do) in Science and Technology when we are disregarding our scientists viewpoints in favor a religious group.

  • PhillR

    How about we say to hell with your faith based ethical objections and ignore you. Recognizing that you and those who live by faith are humanity’s vestigial tail, soon to be cast off in favor of superior social values that emphasize individual freedom and science over superstition and mumbo jumbo.Sounds good to me.

  • mbw

    Sounds like people telling Galileo what to do.

  • Jeanine

    I completely disagree with this article. In my opinion this doesn’t represent many American’s views only some religious fanatics out there. An embryo is NOT a live human and it has no feelings or a developed nervous system. It does not feel pain and in short we should not be projecting our feelings and emotions onto a non living creature that lacks the ability to feel. I think this argument is invalid and it is absolutely ridiculous that the Obama administration has to deal with this kind of backlash to begin with. I applaud the Obama administration for helping advance science and not letting any of these petty arguments you people have get in the way of that.

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Reese, you must already know this, but just in case you don’t, I will say it. An HONEST appraisal of the pros-and-cons of any issues is more likely to sway those who are neutral and on-the-fence, and might sway even those who are opposed to your point of view. As you very well know, your appraisal was incomplete and dishonest. Never understand the tack you — and granted, many others — take.

  • Kim

    Yes, I agree. Regarding the embryos that would have been destroyed anyway, at least these lives will have served the purpose of helping humanity. But that should be the end of it. No more “excess” embryos.

  • Gary E. Masters

    All the parts (eggs and sperm) are alive and have always been alive. There is no beginning and no end. Just life.This discussion is not supported by the facts.

  • cancer dad

    Anyone who has watched their child go through cancer treatment would use any means possible to find a cure. If embryonic stem cell research will save my child, or anyone else’s, then go full speed ahead!

  • LCb

    How about those who want to distroy human life pony up the money themselves for this research, and not force those who disagree to finance it with their tax dollars? Same goes for abortions. Also, if any medical treatments should happen to come from such research, people should have the right to refuse it.

  • Louis

    King Herod Obama, slaughterer of the innocent, for Catholics, he is not only anti-Catholic; he is the anti-Christ. Why are economies collapsing here in the US and every where else on earth? Because God cannot be mocked. Even pagans, except for modern pagans like King Herod Obama, knew that “the mills of the gods grind slowly, but they grind exceeding small”.By choosing King Herod Obama, we have chosen Death over Life, and we are reaping the whirlwind.

  • Aquillion

    Your editorial ignores the same point that opponents of embryonic stem cell research always ignore: Excess embryonic cells are created in massive numbers during the process of in vitro fertilization. These cells are then, normally, incinerated as a matter of course; they are the cells that stem cell researches intend to use.Why are opponents of stem cell research silent on that issue? To people who view stem cells as human, stem cell research is a complicated moral issue with many factors to consider. In vitro fertilization is not; it is purely optional, saves no lives, and results in the destruction of embryonic cells on a massive institutionalized scale.To oppose stem cell research without also opposing in vitro fertilization is to favor destroying those cells as medical waste — to toss them callously into the incinerator for political symbolism — rather than using them to save lives. Regardless of your position on abortion or embryonic cells, that is a morally indefensible position, and it is not one that anyone can expect to be taken seriously in public debate.Opponents of embryonic stem cell research must take the serious and far more difficult step of ending in vitro fertilization first, before they can expect to be taken seriously on the topic of stem cell research; otherwise, they are only advocating wasteful symbolic gestures, and opposing life-saving research without even saving a single cell.

  • Michael Small

    How dishonest. Look people, at the end of the original article you should notice that there are 150 comments. Don’t you find it strange that they only see fit to let you see 116 of those comments? We can safely assume the comments we don’t see represent the 22% of the population that would be tortured or killed if the church managed to get the power to stage another inquisition.

  • Mike F

    This issue has nothing to do with ethics; it’s a moral dilemma as it is now ethical to do stem cell research with federal funds regardless of the individual beliefs as the President lifted the ban. This fight is similar to the abortion issue; it is one group imposing their moral belief upon another except it is one step further than the abortion issues.But it is not much difference than the fight against Islamic extremism, if they would have it their way we would all kneel to the east 4 times a day and pray or be killed. If such research would bring about advancements and it’s is using discarded material I see no issue.

  • Keith

    I remember years ago when the process of in vitro conception was supposed to produce babies without souls and was against the will of God. Now the same people who condemned in vitro in decades past are now championing for the little soulless lives that were created.You can’t have it both ways.

  • Swsterner

    In answer to: Matt FahrnerIt is equally wrong to destroy IVF embryos that ‘won’t be used anyway.’ What should be done is allow them to die a natural death – whether it be in the freezer or wherever they are kept. Viability of them can be checked and when they aren’t showing signs of being alive they ought to be put into boxes and either buried or at that point cremated with some semblence of dignity given to them. BUT NOT BEFORE. Natural death is what all of us deserve…this can be done for the little embryos too.

  • TPartier

    Here we go again…While Reese attempts to find a plausible compromise, which is fine, I don’t necessarily buy into it – but it is worth considering to make those who have a silly notion that they know what their imaginary God wants.So… where are these voices every time a woman goes for in-vitro? What about those ‘Snowflake’ babies, the height of hypocrisy – for every one of those babies – at least one or more embryo’s was destroyed to make for that life. The only possible exception would have been one-at-time attempts, and that is not a frequent endeavor, as I understand it. No, typically several are selected and examined with only the most ‘viable’ being used. Who’s playing God there?And for the person that wrote how they were refusing the vaccinations based on their religious beliefs I have the following neat suggestion: Log off the Web please, do nothing on the Internet either, then turn off all of your lights and use nothing containing solid state electronics. The father’s of all those technologies were non-believers and we certainly cannot have you condoning such heretic thinking, now, can we?

  • Enough of the Lies…

    As with most things spewing forth from the mouths of the hardcore Religious Right, the main point of objection highlighted by Father Reese, i.e. the contention that embryos are human beings deserving of protection, makes no logical sense whatsoever.If these so-called people of faith were at all consistent in their vehement objection to the destruction of embryos via stem cell research, they would be equally as passionate in their objection to the entire process which creates these ‘spare’ embryos in the first place, as any extra embryos not implanted for fertilization will end up being discarded anyway. And, following this same line of reasoning, the Religious Right would also protest just as stridently against the death penalty, war, child abuse, hunger, the genocide in Darfur, and all manner of tragic human conditions that lead to the destruction of human life…ALL human life.But instead, these people seem to limit their righteous indignation and their political muscle to only protecting human life until the moment of birth….after that, hey, screw you, you’re on your own, pal!Then again, logic, intellect, and consistency of thought aren’t exactly the hallmarks of a crowd of people that truly believes eating shellfish is an abomination.

  • TPartier

    Here we go again…While Reese attempts to find a plausible compromise, which is fine, I don’t necessarily buy into it – but it is worth considering to make those who have a silly notion that they know what their imaginary God wants.So… where are these voices every time a woman goes for in-vitro? What about those ‘Snowflake’ babies, the height of hypocrisy – for every one of those babies – at least one or more embryo’s was destroyed to make for that life. The only possible exception would have been one-at-time attempts, and that is not a frequent endeavor, as I understand it. No, typically several are selected and examined with only the most ‘viable’ being used. Who’s playing God there?And for the person that wrote how they were refusing the vaccinations based on their religious beliefs I have the following neat suggestion: Log off the Web please, do nothing on the Internet either, then turn off all of your lights and use nothing containing solid state electronics. The father’s of all those technologies were non-believers and we certainly cannot have you condoning such heretic thinking, now, can we?

  • bob dole

    Proposal #2 is misleading. You’re essentially asking a scientist to prove something before they even do the experiment! Sorry, but that’s not how science works.

  • Enough of the Lies…

    As with most things spewing forth from the mouths of the hardcore Religious Right, the main point of objection highlighted by Father Reese, i.e. the contention that embryos are human beings deserving of protection, makes no logical sense whatsoever.If these so-called people of faith were at all consistent in their vehement objection to the destruction of embryos via stem cell research, they would be equally as passionate in their objection to the entire process which creates these ‘spare’ embryos in the first place, as any extra embryos not implanted for fertilization will end up being discarded anyway. And, following this same line of reasoning, the Religious Right would also protest just as stridently against the death penalty, war, child abuse, hunger, the genocide in Darfur, and all manner of tragic human conditions that lead to the destruction of human life…ALL human life.But instead, these people seem to limit their righteous indignation and their political muscle to only protecting human life until the moment of birth….after that, hey, screw you, you’re on your own, pal!Then again, logic, intellect, and consistency of thought aren’t exactly the hallmarks of a crowd of people that truly believes eating shellfish is an abomination.

  • Lisa

    Amen.

  • Backwards

    The days of religous zealots shaping science are over. Darwin awaited a decade before announcing his theroy of evolution because of his fear of “theological fellows”. Sir, please crawl back under the dark ages rock from which you came and while there say hello to the Taliban, George Bush, and the entire deep south.

  • LuLu

    It’s about time. Stem cells have the greatest components to heal tissue. Long over due!

  • Cordelia

    My honest opinion on stem cells research is this: God owns life. All life belongs to God and should not be tampered with. Using or destroying an embryo to cure disease or for any other purpose is wrong. Everybody should remember that all of us were once embryos.

  • The Sentient Being

    Why search for middle ground with people stuck with superstition? It’s like asking me to find a middle ground with witch doctors. Sorry. Not happening.

  • Bob Roberts

    The disposition of the stem cells should be left to the owners of those cells, i.e. the same people that can decide to implant them or have them destroyed.Government is not intelligent enough to dictate science, they always get it wrong.

  • JMG

    I am ardently pro-choice, but I’m also ardently libertarian.Tax dollars should not be used to fund programs that I may find war morally objectionable, but I consent to a portion of my tax dollars being spent on defense, as doing so ensures the survival of the republic.Stem cell research is a noble cause in that it may help find cures for diseases that affect millions of humans – but that doesn’t mean it should be funded by taxpayer dollars.I agree with earlier posters who have stated that this is not a matter of being for or against the use of embryos, it’s a matter of where the money is coming from.

  • will mauthe

    This from the religious fanatics (Society of Jesus) who swept across Europe and led the Counter Reformation–destroying the culture of Poland,Ireland,But were kicked out of Japan,and etc.–Please stay out of our secular culture and go fight with the Pope,or ally with the Taliban where you may have some relevance!

  • lalo

    I’m at my wits end trying to figure out why the Washington Post is leaning so far to the left that I think if the world was square, they would have fallen off. They had better get real or we may have to bail them out too.

  • Richard

    As much as I disliked the Bush administration, I thought their policy toward embryonic stem cell research was reasonable and might have led to important breakthroughs in adult stem cell research that would have otherwise been delayed. These findings are more important given the recent report of embryonic stem cells forming into tumors within a young child. I am not optimistic that the restriction “[stem cells] should only come from excess embryos produced at fertility clinics that are scheduled to be destroyed anyway” would do much good to stop the commercialization of human life for human health but it is better than no explicit restriction at all.

  • Jacob C

    Why is that the expert who has commented on the decision a theologian and not a scientist. When is the last time any scientist has written a piece authoritatively about religion? Why don’t people stick to what they know?Why don’t I the custodians of our morality speak up when multitude of children in this country are malnourished and their parents can’t pay for medical care. We never talk about the real issues.

  • marie

    i find it absurd that bush thought he could pull the wool over my eyes by limiting stem cell research when he can go right ahead and kill people sentenced to death by committing crimes. these right wingers wow. God gave man the tools to find cures, let’s use ALL available knowledge that we have to cure these devastating diseases! Use embryonic stem cells, skin cell lines, whatever the scientists can develop to assist mankind. Scientists are not in it for the money. They are in it to assist mankind in living more productive, disease-free lives. Ask any scientist how many hours they work, how much time they expend thinking how they can solve the problem.

  • bipolar2

    ** Who are you trying to con?• You want cultural domination and paternalist control Religious authoritarians demand that their moral absolutism be accepted. They will not tolerate an open society, a pluralist culture, or a secular state.Like their muslim brethren, authoritarian xians shudder at a technological world in which mental agility has replaced physical strength as a core measure of economic utility. This reordering of values strips away a core big-3 monotheist lie: god-ordained male supremacy.Xian ultra-rights, just like Islamic ultra-rights, demand ideological “purity,” male dominated social control, subjugation of women, unquestioned acceptance of religious tyranny.Moral absolutists claim a right to use intimidation and violence to attain their goals. Moral absolutism is immoral through and through.• Ours is a secular state. God doesn’t enjoy “executive privilege.” Let religious operatives form their own political party. Out them all.Time has long passed to eliminate the special IRS status of religions. Tax their property, tax their income, de-fund their parasitical faith-based initiatives. Then we’ll see how long their pernicious special interest groups last.Time has long passed to stop xian-taliban (harassers-stalkers-murderers) from enforcing prig morality and unlawful social control, especially at the state, county, and local levels.A secular state ought no longer to demand out dollars to support xian TV cons, greedy preachers, pedophiles, idiots on school boards . . . who cram their non-existent god, fictional good book and perverted values down our throats.

  • Mike E

    My father is paralyzed from the waist down. I Am all for this….Things are much different if your not in the shoes of these people with paralysis and many diseases.

  • Jacob C

    “My honest opinion on stem cells research is this: God owns life. All life belongs to God and should not be tampered with. Using or destroying an embryo to cure disease or for any other purpose is wrong. Everybody should remember that all of us were once embryos.”Really !!! Does only an American embryos life belong to God? What about all the life that was destroyed in Iraq? What about all the life that we are destroying with the way we live (or is it just human life that belongs to god?)How big is your house? What do you drive? Think, do you really need that McMansion and that SUV? Could you live a more godlier life, and be a steward for this planet.

  • Terrorfied

    /snark One thing I’ve discovered about the Faith comment board is that if you’re too critical of Christianity, or slander the religion the same way many Christians posting here slander other religions and ideologies, they won’t post your comment. It must be nice to live in that bubble. WaPo, will you build a bubble for me too? My faith preferences are that I don’t like it when people tell me I’m going to some kind of h*ll for things that don’t hurt anybody but may not conform to standards held by some old book, I believe that no one can save me but myself (as I am ultimately responsible for my own actions), and I like music and ice cream. Make it happen.

  • Pete

    Embryos are destroyed daily. Unless those opposed are willing to outlaw the destruction of embryos, why not use them for research.I agree that they should not be bought or sold. But fertility clinic embryos should be used for research before they are destroyed.Why is there not an outcry to their destruction?

  • eb

    My offer is this: you market your product as you please, and let scientists do science. There is no reason for science to negotiate with superstition, no matter how well-financed.

  • Jacob Emory

    The author claims that his suggestions will not allay those who find any embryonic research “ethically objectionable,” but will establish a middle ground towards those who find it “repugnant.” What evidence is there that these groups even accept the existence of any middle ground on this issue? Perhaps there is a silent middle ground majority who want to have things both ways. It seems to me, though, that one either has the position that an embryo is a full human life, and should therefore be protected as fully as any other, or it is not, and therefore does not have any legal protections of personhood. Really, what middle ground position *could* exist? That an embryo is half a person? To me that seems absurd, as would enacting any policy based on such a proposition.

  • WhoCares

    If God wanted the fetus’s born he would allow them to be born. He is all powerful after all, right?

  • Russell Livingston

    This man is a Religious and has no business writing an article that purports to be news. Religion is the most dangerous force facing American freedom.

  • tanaS

    Thomas Reese is ready to give up all his luxuries for sale so children in Africa can avoid death by starvation. God seems to be too busy to bother so people who agree with Mr. Reese should give up their wasteful lifestyles and live from day-to-day trusting God to provide for their needs. Yeh, Sure that’s going to happen. Just more windage from self-righteous no-nothings.

  • randy

    What harm is there in using only adult stem cells, the research will be more successful because it minimizes the chance of rejection by the patient and also eliminates rejection by the American people and congress for funding. Simply put everyone wins.

  • John Homes

    1st!

  • Frank C.

    It seems clear to me that we should be pursuing this research with human skin tissue from the patients themselves. Why must we even consider embryos. Did I miss something.

  • Terrorified

    Cordelia wrote: Everybody should remember that all of us were once embryos. Ah yes, I remember those days!

  • Anon

    As a researcher who works with neurodegenerative disease, I agree with Dr. Reese’s proposals. There are other sources of stem cells which can be used for disease treatment sich as iPS cells and human umbilical cord blood cells. In particular the cord blood cells have shown great promise in improving the lives of patients with many disease types such as stroke and cerebral palsy. The argument for using embryonic stem cells is based on the idea that a totipotent cell woud be more effective than a pluripotent cell in repairing/replacing damaged or diseased tissue. In animal models of disease most of the beneficial effects of stem cells come not from cell replacement but from the stem cells ability to modify the existing systems in place (such as the immune system)to promote healing. This type of phenomena works equally well using pluripotent stem cells as it does using totipotent stem cells. The major hurdle challenging stem cell research is not the source of cells, but moving treatments through the FDA regulatory process.There is one question I have for those who believe that implanting stem cells is destroying life. If these cells when implanted will exist for the patients entire life-barring rejection, then arent those embryos getting to live where they otherwise would be destroyed?

  • Ph Guerin

    Dear Thomas,I fail to see the controversy over embryonic stem cell research.Please explain the difference between an embryo and a mass of cells.Are you afraid scientists will start blending babies to extract stem cells?As for:This to me is similar to asking someone to ride a bicycle instead of flying between L.A. and N.Y. because it can be done.Kind regards,Ph Guerin

  • Kurt

    Most in vitro fertilization results in more fetuses than the mother actually wants–unless your name is Suleyman. Those fetuses should be made available for research. I don’t see the Right to Life crowd offering up their wombs to so that we can implant all those extra fetuses (it’s been going on for decades).

  • randy

    When I posted my previous comment I was under the naive impression that everyone wanted to help the sick rather than just attack people of faith for having a different view. Guess your right, we can’t all work together for a common good after all. I’m glad I believe in a higher power because those of you that don’t seem to think no one elses opinion matters. You are the most closed minded of all.

  • Richard C. Mattis, M.D.

    Reese’s suggestions provide a thoughtful moral middle ground in the ethical dilemmas of stem cell research. Rather than discard the excess embryos is it not more humanely wise to make use of them to potentially develop cures for the likes of Parkinson’s Disease, Diabetes, Cystic Fibrosis, Hemophilia and numerous other disorders?

  • ROFL

    Louis : Why are economies collapsing here in the US and every where else on earth? Because God cannot be mocked. Even pagans, except for modern pagans like King Herod Obama, knew that “the mills of the gods grind slowly, but they grind exceeding small”.By choosing King Herod Obama, we have chosen Death over Life, and we are reaping the whirlwind.LMAO That’s priceless, Lois, I had to re-post! Seriously, you think the economy’s collapsing because of OBAMA?? He took office 2 months ago, Lois, the economy’s been spiraling for almost 2 YEARS. Did you just wake up from a coma, or were you so deep in prayer you didn’t notice Bush mocking your religion by slaughtering innocents in Iraq over his own lie, killing children by denying healthcare to the impovershed, and enabling the corporate theft which landed us in this mess? Go back to your book, darling, with “good Christians” like you and Bush, we don’t need an anti-christ.

  • Lynne Monds

    Above all else, the use of embryonic stem cells should avoid any appearance that one life was created for the purpose of being destroyed for another. Mr. Reese has outlined judicious steps to pull us back from the slippery slope leading to this Brave New World.

  • bob

    life begins at birth

  • jameo

    I participated in a high risk clinical trial utilizing similar technology to stop the near death certainty of an incureable affliction – I am Catholic and would do it again. Unfortunately the researchers hands were tied regarding how much they could do and I often wonder, what if, would I be whole today? I read the news and see people freezing embryos for reproductive puposes, but I don’t see science freezing four year olds. In my mind the question needs redirection from when does life begins to when does life fail. This agrument and those behind it should go away. I wonder how many in the future will turn their heads from a cure they need developed from this science for the sake of morality? How many will allow their children to suffer or die? The hypocrisy of Sunday only Catholics will be exposed I’m sure. Of course these are the ones who are now speaking the loudest.

  • Rationalist

    Geesh, I wish Americans could quit obsessing about all this emotional, religious crap and start solving real problems. This got old a long time ago.

  • miketothep

    Should we start arresting women for menstruating? I mean by this “logic”, isn’t every woman committing murder every time she has a period?

  • RobertRaulerson

    Religion should not be allowed to impede scientific progress. Not any more. The Religious Right will oppose anything and everything Obama does. He should ignore them.

  • Richard Kefalos

    Who needs a Jesuit’s advice on anything? I though we had gotten the damned Jesuits off our backs centuries ago, but here they are again, opining on morals. These are the folks that happily burned “heretics” at the stake after torturing them so that their “souls” could be saved by “purifiyng” their bodies with fire. Go away, damned Jesuit devils! Go back to to the hell that is your natural home!

  • Karin G.

    The use of embryonic stem cells is not only a sin against God but a crime against Nature. DON’T DO IT!

  • Michael

    If our tax dollars, in gross proportions, fund wars that kill thousands upon thousands of civilians (far more than the rebels who we are fighting) and we ignorantly accept genocide as ‘not-our-problem’ then why is there a moral debate about embryonic stem-cells? And, conversely, why do we so strongly endorse capital punishment? Just so I understand: violent retribution is moral, but research to save human life is not? If you want to be pro-life, please be genuinely pro-life and stop endorsing a culture of guns, wars, global-exploitation and ecological rape while you simultaneously vote down measures in favor of abortion or stem-cell research. Otherwise, I hate to say it, you are the epitome of pro-choice, but of the explicitly immoral flavor.I love this nation with every inch of my soul, but it reeks of hypocrisy. And I mean more that in Washington, but on every street corner. The only thing we hate more than communists is being told we’re wrong and knowing its true.

  • CS

    Ethical concerns in this matter are simply scientists pandering to religion. Humoring would be more apt.Any cell reverted to a stage where it had all the potential of an embryonic stem cell, would also have the potential to develop into a person. Oh, problem not so niftily solved, huh?Concerns addressed by this technique are based in ignorance, and irrelevant. How do you just arbitrarily determine when life begins anyway? Would we have to program some nuance into this reverted cell, preventing it from becoming ‘life’, or whatever someone arbitrarily decides is life? Would that make it better? Does this cell not count as life, since it is essentially a clone? Something to humor your ignorance, and make you think that your opinion based on absolutely no research counts? What next? Am I supposed to stop using contraceptives, because I am snuffing out at least %50 the ‘Potential’ of life?Tough questions. Why put any intelligent thought into them when you can find someone to interject “WWJD?”.I remember asking someone arguing the case for intelligent design about irreducible complexity. His response was ‘What?’. I think that sums up the proponents of these ethical concerns. Such ‘ethical’ concerns have led to the US forfeiting its lead in research, and are meaningless since the rest of the world has generally out-grown them. Religion has its place in society, but it has no place in these matters. And since when did God weigh in on the fate or status embryonic stem cells anyway? Has someone spoken to him recently? Don’t answer that.

  • Rene

    Stop the middle ground stuff NOW. We would be 200 years ahead by now if the church wouldn’t have [morally] objected to Leonardo DaVinci’s research on dead bodies. They forced him to go underground and/or stopped him cold. No middle ground anymore, no endless second guessing, end this madness now. Discarded unfertilized eggs [an NO, it's NOT an embryo] are fair game and research should be allowed to use them as they see fit.

  • Shane

    Cordelia wrote: Everybody should remember that all of us were once embryos. All of us were also the chicken sandwich or glass or orange juice your mother ate while pregnant with you. That is irrelevant.This whole debate, as well as that of abortion, is about the definition of personhood. The religious or spiritual concept of souls makes a religious definition of personhood irreconcilable with a naturalist/materialist (i.e scientific) definition.There is no evidence for a dualistic mind or soul, and this is merely one example where religious or mystical justifications for beliefs cause direct harm upon the welfare of others.

  • when fetuses attack

    Reese, could you explain why undifferentiated stem cells are needed in the first place? Probably not, right?This is the problem with blogs: everyone has a keyboard, but we haven’t found a way to make clues as universally accessible. I noticed your blog is titled “On Faith,” but I can’t seem to find any articles on Cajun cuisine? Why is that?

  • behaha

    “Embryos for research cannot be bought and sold. Embryos should not be created for the sole purpose of research. They should only come from excess embryos produced at fertility clinics that are scheduled to be destroyed anyway.”I don’t understand why the second possibility is morally superior to the first possibility. Anyone? anyone?

  • Richard Dawkins

    “Thomas J. Reese, S.J., is Senior Fellow at Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University.” Excellent, there’s no way this man has any religious bias.

  • Steve

    If someone wants to sell their embryos. Sell them. It is their body and their choice. If I had a spinal injury and could pay 10,000.00 for an embryo that would hep me walk again; do you want cash or a money order?

  • pgjack

    Different people find different things morally repugnant. Should society go to extremes to avoid offending any and all who might object to a particular investigative path? Or is it that this particular complaint is from the religious community and therefore must be acceded to even by those of us who do not agree with their peculiar religious mythos. Are their beliefs are more important than those of a Naturalist? Is it more important to avoid the wailings of the religious than to heal the afflicted? The cells in question come from the blastocyst, a mass of less than 100 cells, before implantation in the womb. The blastocyst has the potential to become a human being but is not one yet. There is no moral dilemma for me.The religious right cries, “majority rules” but only when the majority rules in their favor.

  • ABUNDANTMIND

    I am a human male. I label myself as such because it is impossible to argue. I cannot label myself a Christian, because what if Christ decides I’m not worthy of his name? I can say that I hope to be a Christian, but not that I am. Thus, I am conveniently relieved of any bizarre code of conduct prescribed by self-labelled Christians – for they are in violation of the first few commandments. Let Him decide who is, or isn’t, worthy of His name.Anyone who labels themselves during their lifetime according to something that can only be proven (argued) in their own afterlife is a walking contradiction of life itself. And to what purpose? As a basis for arguing against research into a field that holds promise for a brighter future for all mankind?I say we study any field that promises greater longevity, because the device most able to adapt to the changing universe around us and protect us as a species while we strive to better understand our relationship with our higher power is none other than the human mind. Protecting and developing human capital serves us well. Electing otherwise on the basis of some controversial ideology only divides us. This is indisputable, since there are multiple ideologies from which to choose.Is it God’s intention do divide us, or is that the domain of some other unseen entity?

  • captainkona

    You see, the Right Wing fringe don’t really care about the human factor involved. If they did they wouldn’t be so fond of war and the death penalty.The fact is, given the large amount of pedophiles found on the Right, the womb is little more than a toy factory to them.

  • Steve

    What is the difference if we take stem cells from an embryo that is going to be destroyed or from and adults skin. A 30 cell embryo is not something that anybody should worry about. Billions of embryos are miscarried naturally and never see the light of day. Let’s call it what it is, a clump of cells. What it could be is irrelevant. A destroyed embryo destroyed because it is unfrozen, miscarried or used to make stem cells is dead all the same.

  • Kurt

    “I don’t understand why the second possibility is morally superior to the first possibility. Anyone? anyone?”–BehahaProbably because they can’t figure out a practical use for these fetuses–but they can’t totally condemn IVF? They always claim that abortion is immoral because the mother can have the child and put it up for adoption. The “no such thing as an unwanted child” argument doesn’t work with fetuses. I haven’t totally reconciled why one is okay and the other is not.

  • Daniel

    Its nice to finally not have a complete retard as our President. Let science advance…..please. There is nothing wrong with Stem-Cell research just as there is nothing wrong with me not believing in fairy tales and spirits. What I believe in is science. We have the ability to cure any disease, current or future if the story tellers will just keep to there preachers and leave the sane people alone. Its time for the non Hippocrates to unite and get this world on the right track.

  • Michael

    Completely unrelated to my previous rant, I have a more constructive suggestion:Anyone who is so in awe of the beauty of God’s creation of life and so afraid of science’s “sins against god and nature” should take a few molecular biology courses at their local university. Once you are sufficiently in awe of the complexity of life you should take some organic chemistry, and then ask yourself “at what point does DNA and its set of associated macromelocular structures constitute life?” Then ask yourself how we have a right to slaughter millions of animals with which we share >99% genetic similarity. I welcome a debate on science from those who have even a remote understanding, and am respectful of legitimately grounded opinions. Otherwise, the overwhelming impression is that you are ignorant and hiding behind beliefs to cover up a lack of contemporary education. Nothing wrong with faith, but no excuse for ignorance.

  • JoeNYC

    Generally, the people that find embryonic stem cell research “repugnant” are the same people that support the war in Iraq where thousands upon thousands of real live innocent people have been killed. They don’t oppose killing in that situation for the perceived overall good. Why then would they oppose this research? The death penalty is the same situation. There is hypocrisy at work here.

  • Aaron

    Some suggestions for appropriate limitations on slavery:1. Slaves cannot be bought or sold. But, those who currently own slaves may continue to hold them as property.2. Before using slaves, owners should show that free person are unable or unwilling to perform the work they want the slaves to perform.3. Slave owners should aim at transforming their “business model” into one that uses mostly non-slaves as labor.

  • Opiateofthemasses

    Dude didn’t you get the memo stem cells are the lies of the devil. Kinda like dinosaurs, and nazi war crimes. Why don’t you go crawl back under whatever rock it is you crawled out from.

  • Larry Weisenthal

    Excellent, well-balanced and reasoned editorial. A breath of fresh air, actually. Thank you. – Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach, CA

  • Howard Gerlach PhD

    It is a good idea to restrict the use to “excess” embryos”. I would further stipulate that the “parents” of these embryo sign off that they agree to using them for research and that they can receive no money for the use of these cells.

  • Michael

    Oh, and with respect Father Reese, please allow those who understand biology to suggest policy alternatives. If alternatives to embryonic research existed in the necessary context then there wouldn’t be such outcry by US scientists over Bush’s unenlightened policy. Also, don’t let lawyers decide what constitutes appropriate use of embryonic stem-cells, all resulting decisions will make relevant progress more difficult. Again, ignorance, not an excuse.

  • sandi lawrence

    it’s about time that someone with the coconuts could come into the presidency and allow what the peanuts wouldn’t. Bush was the lameist duck ever. Thank God and greyhound he is gone. Now maybe good things will start happening, what well my, looks like Obama has hit the ground running.

  • pgc

    stick to the seminary and leave the real science to scientists — this article is from the middle ages

  • Chainbo

    Anyone who puts the interest of cells over that of an alzheimers patient, need to seriously check their moral compass, its way off.

  • Priscila Santana

    It is important to develop new resources for treatment of so many genetic and degenerative diseases that make so many families and physicians so frustrated because of the limitations of the available therapies nowadays, but still I believe it’s necessary to create boundaries for any type of research, after all we are dealing with lives. If it wasn’t for challenging and many times ethically questioned researches in the past, maybe many diseases already vanished from many countries would still be life threatening all over the world.

  • middle ground

    If someone wants to reject embryonic stem cell technology for their own health care, then that’s their prerogative. It’s not their prerogative to limit federally-funded research or applied medicine for everybody else though.

  • R. L. Swartz

    Sounds like the moralist control freaks escaped from the funny farm again. This is just another foolish attempt by the rabid to take control, dictate their superstitions and shape research to conform to a narrow (usually Christian fundamentalist) mindset.I have irons in the fire here, any stem cell research including embryonic is important as I have two (congenital) genetic malady’s that well may be cured by stem cell research. One medical problem is not that serious (male pattern baldness) the other will likely cause my kidneys to shut down. If there is a embryonic stem cell cure I am all for it. An effective treatment may not evolve in my lifetime but well may benefit my children and/or grandchildren.Life starts with the erection —- life starts when the kid is house broken, who knows. In a free country life starts when you believe it starts. At this point in man’s existence we do not know what happens before or after life, how life begins/ends or even what life is, yet many claim to have the answer or hold the key to an answer, because their imaginary god(s) or some variant thereof told them so. So far it would appear religion knows all the answers; but man does not seem sure of the questions.Right to lifers can huff, puff, bluster claim murder all they want but that will not change a thing, embryonic stem cell research will continue with or without their permission.The attempt to legislate morality will fail again as in the pre R v W days. We have seen from past and current endeavors that morality can not be successfully legislated. To those that choose to fight the windmills, learn from our history in that we have never been able to successfully legislate morality to wit alcohol, prostitution, polygamy and drug prohibition are totally failed morality-fueled efforts. Now some would have us believe that this time around somehow once again criminalizing embryonic stem cell research will work.To all the embryonic stem cell research control freaks, learn to mind your own business or move to Malta, if memory serves that is one of the civilized nations in which abortion and embryonic stem cell research is banned.

  • _Gone_

    How ironic, opponenets asking for “middle ground”. Spare the drivel. Where were your offers for “middle ground” as Bush blindly ripped the carpet out from underneath this vital line of research? Where were the offers of “middle ground” regarding the science of stem cell research in general? When you had your Bush saviour in office, you never once considered the idea of cooperation or “middle ground”. Spare me your hollow rhetoric and knee-scabbing drivel. Who cares what you or your ilk consider “repugnant”? We, the majority, have swallowed your repugnant pseudo-moral ideals for nearly a decade, not once asking us if we would care to find “middle ground”. Free advice : wipe off your tears, get off your knees, get over the loss suffered to your idolatrous, vitriol-spewing party and learn to smile as you taste your own medicine.

  • ccnl

    fastest growing voting demographic and possibly the largest voting bloc in the USA is ? :: The Immoral Majority i.e The 70 million “mothers and fathers of aborted children” whose ranks grow by two million per year. They easily put BO in the White/Blood Red House!!!! The math: ~one million abortions/yr since 1973(Roe vs Wade) X 35 yrs x 2 parents/aborted child = ~ 70 million. The popular vote: 69,456,897 votes for BO, 59,934,814 votes for JM.And as he promised the members of the Immoral Majority, BO is now the leading advocate of abortion on demand to include the destruction of human embryos.

  • Norm Worrell

    Father Reese,

  • BantryBay

    I applaud President Obama’s decision to lift Federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.I hope our society will bring about many new and advanced treatment for disease.

  • Thoughtful1

    Restating NITIN’s point: You have a terrible ailment that can be cured with tissue replacement. You accept an organ transplant because the donor is going to die (brain dead) or has just died. How is this different from accepting stem cells cultivated from a blastocyst, a mass of less than 100 cells, left over from an in vitro fertilization that are scheduled to be incinerated? Point of fact, a healthy woman has 4,000 viable eggs from the 2 million she is born with. A healthy male produces 160 million sperm per day, a quadrillion in a lifetime. Why has the religious discussion not focused on making better use of the God-given cells now lost to make life?

  • uncle Snarl

    I grow weary, very weary, of folks who are so obsessed with their christian religious self centered fanaticism, that they are willing to place their personal religious judgements, ahead of the saving of human lives, which is a sure thing with the use of human stem cell in research to improve human, all human, wellness. I am reasonably certain, that should a method for regrowing nerve tissue, and reconstuting the spinal cord, be developed, there by allowing quadraplegics to resume a normal life, free of their wheel cahir and other attachments, these same folks who damn this medical reaearch the loudest, will be the first in line to make use of it.

  • Real Scientist

    I work with stem cells and I like bone marrow cells. Every adult have stem cells and given the right environment they have the potential to cure the deadly diseases discussed here. Nobody really knows which cells will work better. My guess is stem cells from the same patient. Look at spine fusions, adult stem cells work very effectively. This is what Obama should do. He should lift the embryonic stem cell ban but should not use tax payer money to fund it. People who support this type of research should put the money where their mouth is. Start a special foundation and collect donations from the embryonic cell supporters. These donations should be tax deductable at 40 % with a cap of $1000 per donor. 70 millions Obama voters and each donate an average of $100. You get 7 Billion dollars. More than enough to check whether this technique works.

  • hyjanks

    What if we just let religion run amok? I mean, let the zealots have their way, totally. What would we have? Kumbaya of the first order where everyone goes around hugging each other OR total madness on so grand a scale that civilization ceases to exist.

  • Edward G. Stafford

    Given the proven success of so-called adult stem cells, that is ones not derived from human embryos but from skin cells, amniotic fluid, etc., and the failure of any treatments with embryonic cells, Thomas Reese is absolutely right in saying that we need to speed the day, and devote our funds accordingly, when all stem cell research is only done with stem cells not derived from embryonic stem cells.

  • Jason NYC

    MiketotheP – your post is incredibly dumb and asinine. Please graduate from grade school before posting another nonsensical blurb. Idiot.

  • Judith Consentino

    This is a great article with wonderful suggestions that would appeal to those of us who find the destruction of an embryo revolting. How do we get this information to the president?

  • Nancy Zager

    There are people who do not find stem cell research, or the (I hope) cures which result from it morally repugnant. In fact, we think that any means which can save lives or prevent suffering is a moral good. An embryo is not a living human being in any shape or form. Why should we be bound by the feelings of those who pose a “moral” claim to know that stem cell research on undifferentiated embryos is evil? If they do not approve, then let them refuse the benefits it may provide them in time of need.

  • Nancy Zager

    There are people who do not find stem cell research, or the (I hope) cures which result from it morally repugnant. In fact, we think that any means which can save lives or prevent suffering is a moral good. An embryo is not a living human being in any shape or form. Why should we be bound by the feelings of those who pose a “moral” claim to know that stem cell research on undifferentiated embryos is evil? If they do not approve, then let them refuse the benefits it may provide them in time of need.

  • Nancy Zager

    There are people who do not find stem cell research, or the (I hope) cures which result from it morally repugnant. In fact, we think that any means which can save lives or prevent suffering is a moral good. An embryo is not a living human being in any shape or form. Why should we be bound by the feelings of those who pose a “moral” claim to know that stem cell research on undifferentiated embryos is evil? If they do not approve, then let them refuse the benefits it may provide them in time of need.

  • Nancy Zager

    There are people who do not find stem cell research, or the (I hope) cures which result from it morally repugnant. In fact, we think that any means which can save lives or prevent suffering is a moral good. An embryo is not a living human being in any shape or form. Why should we be bound by the feelings of those who pose a “moral” claim to know that stem cell research on undifferentiated embryos is evil? If they do not approve, then let them refuse the benefits it may provide them in time of need.

  • Nancy Zager

    There are people who do not find stem cell research, or the (I hope) cures which result from it morally repugnant. In fact, we think that any means which can save lives or prevent suffering is a moral good. An embryo is not a living human being in any shape or form. Why should we be bound by the feelings of those who pose a “moral” claim to know that stem cell research on undifferentiated embryos is evil? If they do not approve, then let them refuse the benefits it may provide them in time of need.

  • Mr. Dana Gunnison

    As a person suffering from Parkinson’s Disease, I don’t think we need to spend any more time and money arguing about what type of stem cells we are using in research. Embryonic cells that are no longer needed or wanted, and are left in cold storage for no reason other than we don’t know what to do with them will help speed the day when I can look forward, not to a life of decreasing expectations, but to one of hope.

  • james kooiman

    I believe that California is reaping the results of voting for and allocating 3 Billion dollars for embryonic stem cell research. With all of the myriad of problems California is experiencing, I believe it is the judgment of God for promoting this evil practice. Sowing the wind and reaping the whirlwind. J.K. Texas

  • Kevin

    I find it very strange the level of hostility to religion that many people seem to have. You are not forced to practice. In exchange, I ask you not to force those who chose to be religious to not practice, or to hide their faith. You are not required to hide your atheism. This does not seem to be your believe system, however. You seem to believe in tolerance towards all, except for those that you personally label intolerant. Sorry, but you cant have it both ways.As for this issue, people can find it morally repugnant for reasons that have nothing to do with religion. Most of the militant atheists who have posted seem to equate morals with religion. To them, let me ask this. If someone said it was moral to shoot you, would you agree? I’d venture a guess and say no. This would seem immoral to you. Does this mean that you suddenly found religion? No. You can oppose murder morally without religious basis. The same goes for stem cell research.

  • James

    You have to be kidding! What makes a Theologian think he is qualified to make a decision based on scientific reason? Do these religious types complain when our government spends billions of dollars building weapons that kill people? How about capital punishment? Our government, on our behalf, kills real human beings all the time. Where’s the outrage from the religious right? How about the thousands of human embryos that are flushed down the toilet in fertility clinics every year when the donors stop paying the storage fees? Wouldn’t it serve a greater purpose to use those discarded embryos to cure diseases and alleviate human suffering? Here’s the choice: Flush these embryos down the toilet or use them to cure diseases and help the weak and sick among us. If you believe that God made us in his image and likeness then you have to believe that the scientific knowledge we possess to develop these cures was given to us by God. The true test is whether we use these gifts to do good or bad. Do we use what God gave us to help the weak and the sick or do we use these gifts to build stealth bombers, cruise missiles and smart bombs? Think about it.

  • Harold A. Maio

    Science often progresses faster than society. How societies deal with that reality has varied. Sometimes it has dealt with the best of ethics, and sometimes with the worst.Some poeple have dealt with advances with the best of ethics, and some with the worst. We will see this time.

  • ajan

    How about forbidding the patenting of research findings made with federally funded embryonic research. If scientists want to take existing embryos that would have been destroyed and study them, fine. But they can’t make money off of them. That would show the world that the researchers have only good of humanity as a goal and not a biomedical startup company.

  • Anonymous

    embryos are not alive

  • Pragmatus

    There is a very simple solution for those who find medical research that destroys human embryos objectionable–at any time, in any place, such persons can always refuse medical treatment that was derived from such research. Of course that will, more often that not, consign the objector to the grave, but that’s the downside of adopting stances not grounded in common sense.

  • Michael Bindner

    It is not the stem cells themselves that are important, but the process that is important. Donor stem cells have a potential for rejection, however the embryonic stem cell process offers the hope of cloned parts from ones own cells. Taking a skin cell from a protected place and inserting the nucleus into an egg will lead to a blastocyst that can possibly be tricked into growing into a type of cell needed by the donor – then possibly into an organ. You may not be able to do this with adult stem cells.Stem cells from a donated embryo are really not useful for anything but research, since the DNA does not match your own. Additionally, there is a significant likelihood that the cells may not be genetically viable (in other words, the embryo could not survive if left to develop). If you use your own cells and insert them into an egg to make a clone, you know the cells will be viable, because you survived.Two possible difficulties still remain. The first is mitochondrial. It might be best to use an egg from a female relative of your mother, so that the donor mitochondrial DNA are identical to your own. The other difficulty is that folks like Father Reese have moral qualms about the procedure just described. They should not. Until gastrulation, no blastocyst behaves in any way like ensoulment has occurred. After gastrulation, they all do. The fact that embryologists do no research on embryoes after gastrulation shows that they believe that this is the line that cannot be crossed. Natural law reasoning must take natural science into account. Consider the way that embryologists operate with reference to gastrulation a big, big hint.

  • Mark

    How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? The pretense this is an ethical issue is ridiculous. Let me get it straight. If you took a cell from my nose and used it for research that would not be a problem but a single fertilize reproductive cell is sacred. Try this then. Split the original ovum into twin cells. Let the one become a child and save lives with the other. I know our “religious” communities still won’t be satisfied because there is no logic to their complaint to begin with.

  • Dave Levine

    I have found that those I have talked to about the subject who have had concerns about stem cell research tend to change their minds when they understand that the cells come from embryos already slated for destruction, that embryos are destroyed for the research that would otherwise not be. It seems however that the right wing here tends to use rhetoric that confuses and distorts the fact that embryos being used woud be discarded anywayI am unsure that a large number of Americans in fact do have an ethical problem with stem cell research once they are educated about it.Education is quicly becoming a poison to the Republican party

  • annnort

    I guess people will or can not read. President Bush did not stop stem cell research. He merely said the federal government would not pay for it with TAXPAYERS DOLLARS. The researchers can raise and spend all the money they want on this research, but not use OUR MONEY unless we donate it to them. When the day comes they put a product on the market, the profits will be theirs. But Obama wants to GIVE THE RESEARCHERS OUR TAXPAYER DOLLARS. Then when they make a profit they can keep the money. They can say their expenses offset the profits! Obama is giving them OUR MONEY because they gave him large campaign contributions. Those of you with deseases will not have a cure any faster. The question is, DO WE WANT OUR MONEY SPENT FOR THIS RESEARCH? My answer is NO, I DO NOT!!

  • lucy2008

    Our new President is fulfilling his campaign promise to reverse the Bush anti-science policy regarding embryonic stem cell research. The large majority of voting Americans put him into office knowing this. This is democracy in action and I for one applaud it. This is the return to the age of reason from the extreme faction of evangelical Christians. A faction that believes in man-made mythologies that are as crystalized and as dense as diamonds. I have my own religion and there is no ethical dilemma for me to support the use of embryonic stem cells for disease research and transplantation research. In fact, this is highly ethical by helping many people. If I could, I’d donate my embryonic stem cells to this cause.I do not agree with the extreme evangelical religious faction who believes that a soul popps inside a conceived cell. I do not believe a conceived cell or a petri dish of wiggley cells has personhood or political rights. It would be a disaster to our country to make that law. Animals that we share this planet with are treated worse than a petri dish of cells. A conceived cell is just a recombination event between two willing individuals or an experiment in a research lab. Those are human cells, but they are not a person. It is an extreme man-made religious-based human centric obsession to call those cells a person. Nothing in reality supports that but these particular religious zealots. Since The Enlightenment, man is struggling to view the world with reason. The world isn’t flat and the sun doesn’t revolve around the earth. Organs can be transplanted without the wrath of god. These views are further complicated because this “interpretation” and “extremism” is brought on by the arrogance of organized religious leaders who owe allegiance to know country or democracy and practice their own form of totalitarian government. Such men make the public believe they know the mind of god and speak for him. Considering their history and man-made literature, they are without credibility when representing the mind of god.

  • AJ Simkatu

    You’d have to be an uneducated moron to continue to think there is an ethical problem in using embryos that are going to be destroyed from being used to help millions with debilitating diseases. Embryos are not people. They are frozen. They don’t think. They don’t “live” and they are thrown in the garbage daily when people decide they either can’t or won’t implant them. As long as the Republicans continue to espouse anti-intellectualism they will forever doomed. Its not beyond imagination that Joe the illegal Plumber and Sarah Palin might win the GOP primary. What a sad state the GOP has become.

  • ccnl

    Hmmm, the old “old house on fire dilemma and who to save first” problem with a new twist. Some facts:One assumes these human embryos cannot last forever. As with all life, they should be given proper burial and allowed to decompose (or be cremated) with dignity as all human life is. Creating/breeding these embryos for research or use as life-saving drugs is akin to cloning humans simply to harvest their parts for life-saving transplants.

  • PT

    I must say, there is no logic here. In your first condition, you note that embryos should not be created for research purposes, but rather only those slated for destruction (because they are “extras” in fertility clinics) should be used. For a theologian, this is very weak reasoning — either it’s wrong to create embryos that won’t be allowed to progress to independent life or it’s not. I’d expect a tighter argument from a “senior fellow”… And note, if you had done your homework on the scientific front, points 2 and 3 are already true and are at the heart of the argument about why stem cell research is necessary and where researchers and clinicians would like to take it.

  • SO

    There is no “Federal Ban on Embryonic Stem Cell Research” unless someone would graciously point, link or show that law somewhere.Anyone in this country who can find funding can research embryonic stem cell therapy methods. The question needs to be: WHY is the Federal Government so important to this whole issue? Why would or *should* the government be involved in funding these research groups?The principle lies in this…when you want to spend your money on something, you do so of your own free will. You want to support embryonic research, I do not. So…you can go find one of those embryonic research organizations and help fund them. I will not. That’s the free choice that we have in this country. We were supposed to have a limited government presiding over individuals that act out for the greater good & their principles. We don’t even have that opportunity anymore because the bureaucrats insist we can’t do things on our own or in the private sector.It is not the government’s responsibility in this type of issue to be doling out money to anyone on my behalf or yours. The same can be said for a lot of different research funds the government is currently invested in, not just the embryonic issue.And if the argument is that groups, barring government assistance, simply can’t find the funds on their own…well then that presents the whole grander issue. Why are they unable to get funding from the people that want to support it? Is the government restricting who can or can’t fund or donate? Or are people simply unwilling or not sure how to help fund it? These are issues and questions we need to solve as individuals and private groups, not as sweeping decisions by our federal state.I am a religious person who supports adult stem cell methods, and oppose embryonic methods. I have no shame in expressing that position, nor should I. Someone else pointed out the irony of opposing this and not opposing weapons & war funding. You’re correct, and that’s a vice that I have to grapple with. At the moment, it’s not something that I have a clear answer for either. Doesn’t change how I feel though, or make me feel less of a person.I also like the suggestion of putting a check box on tax returns for donating to embryonic research. Obviously then, each person gets a choice to support the government-run initiative or not. In fact, I wouldn’t even care if they tracked my selection.

  • lucy2008

    Regarding annnort: If you don’t want your tax dollars spent on embryonic stem cells for research, well just think of your tax dollars going towards our military weapons, warfare, and government private militia. All of those who voted for our new president will gladly concede that to you and have our dollars go toward medical research, healthcare, education and the poor. In all seriousness, the NIH funds the majority of medical and basic research worldwide. This is an exponential difference. To stop our federal dollars from funding embryonic stem cells with the use of many more cell lines was preventing mainstream use and the use by thousands of brilliant investigators. Bush was a calamity by allowing his extreme religious views to dictate his actions versus reason, real science, and well-thought ethics. We have lost almost a decade in what could have been done. At least we now have and administration and Congress to not only change this policy but also increased funding of the NIH substantially.

  • Isabella French

    Stem cells are not human beings. They are blank cells that could become human. Nowhere in the research is there a doctrine that forces women to donate their eggs, unborn fetuses, embryos or anything else. To rally against stem cell research is the exact same thing as to take EVERY SINGLE EMBRYO leftover from in-vitro and FORCE a female to carry it to term. These things are going in the trash anyway, so why not REALLY save a life by using them rather than arguing pointless semantics as to whether it is immoral to use them for life-saving research? Murder is the willful act of harming a conscious being with the intent to kill. That may include animals but it does not extend to miniscule globs of goo. Get over it.

  • wtobias

    i guess since they have the problems solved for clean cheep energy. they know what your soul is. what comes after death how the earth works i find it hard to beleve they still use the words. maybe

  • Scott Marquardt

    For the administration, it’s not about finding middle ground and making reasonable concessions to competing views of the issue. This is a Chicago administration. This is about seeing to it that your opponents are left with no seat at the table, now power whatsoever. No concessions will be made.Doubtful about my characterization? Leave it coupled to my prediction that no concessions of any kind will be made. Make credence for my characterization dependent on the precisions of the prophecy.

  • James

    Still not Pro-life. Just Pro-suffering. It’s a good thing you don’t get to decide. The position you dispense is arbitrary and dictatorial.

  • pate33older

    An embryonic stem cell does not become a POTENTIAL human life until it is fertilized. I say potential because many who use in vitro are not successful. Meanwhile millions are suffering from horrific diseases such as Parkinsons, diabetes, MS, and Alzheimer’s disease to name a few. For the past four years we have not only had a president who drove us into war, bankrupted our economy in this venture AND, based on his evangelical faith and his support of the Catholic Poe and his bishops, wasted the research needed to prove or disprove the scientific theory that stem cells might well come up with therapies and cures for these diseases. In effect he was using his personal relgious views to ignore the needs of others. I have MS but have been fortunate to have a very mild case. I have seen wonderful, talented and giving people with the extreme form of MS pass away from it, several in their early thirties. My son in law’s father has severe Parkinsons and my dentist also has a wife with this. My two dear brothers in law both succumbed to Alzeimers. Bush was an embarrasment to many Americans, including me. I am extremely grateful to have the intelligent, thoughtful man who is now our President. I thankful for the executive order he will sign on Monday. It gives hope to many.

  • stanley Kerns

    The simple fact is, that once the genie is out of the bottle you can’t put him back in again. Much good is offered through stem cell research–millions will suffer without it. That some die so many can live?–well, have you ever studied history? It is normal for some to die so many may live–Lincoln enshrined that in the Gettysburg Address. It is far better to die helping others to live than to die because you got flushed down the toilet. There seems to be steady progress towards producing stem cells without the use of embryos. There is no reason to think this trend won’t continue. However, and READ this, if we remain a player in this research we will have the potential to guide and direct the path it takes. Do you seriously think China gives a fig where donor cells come from for stem cell research? Now go back to the first sentence–realize the genie has left the bottle, and do what you can to keep things reasonable and appropriate.

  • Angel Palacios

    It is tragic that we have come to this, we are only trying to go around a simple fact should we allow ourselves to kill another human person so that a third person might have a chance to live?

  • Sayer

    The scientist who developed the use of skin cells for stem cell research cautioned that it should not be sused as an excuse to further delay the research using embrionic stem cells. I sincerely doubt that your theological training qualifies you as a legitimate scientist. In fact it only acts to cloud your fuzzy thinking which advocates further delay while the research satisfies your ignorant parochial requirements.

  • wtobias

    jeff i think we have been killing ourselves longer then 2000 years and longer then any religon we started with rocks before we spoke before the bible was written we just got a lot better at it now we kill before they breathe for the first time

  • bedazzled

    As a Christian I think this is over due about eight years. Instead of destroying the unused embryos, they will be put to good use to hopefully save lives which makes no sense whatsoever. We have been going back in time so now is the time to step forward into the future.

  • Alan Torrant

    If stem cells are taken from an aborted fetus that was aborted in a so-called abortion clinic, then there is certainly no murder committed by science in that case, as the abortion was a decision arrived at already by the mother. The case could be made that a line could be crossed where mothers are encouraged to offer their fetuses to science for a fee. Yes, that would be wrong. It could also be argued that battlefield death should not be exploited in order to harvest limbs and organs for transplant purposes. That also would be wrong. But as it stands today, even though I personally oppose abortion and would like all mothers to see their pregnancies out to full term and delivery, there are millions of abortions performed annually worldwide, and most of those fetuses will have given up their futures without rendering any service to the human race. Adults all the time carry organ donor cards in their wallet, but we prudish know-it-alls deny these aborted fetuses the dignity of contributing something to the human race that we don’t deny adults. Yes, adults make such decisions freely, and fetuses don’t. Nonetheless, I forsee a future day, possibly not that far off, when research done with aborted fetal cells will yield a massive breakthrough, and there will be no further need of looking to fetuses for cell material. My middleaged wife had a stroke four years ago. Stroke strikes 700,000 Americans per year. Head injuries abound, from battle, bicycle accidents, you name it. Get off your duff, and see for yourself at your local recuperative hospital. Brain injuries don’t just cripple the victim, they cripple the victim’s family as well.When fetus farms start appearing to serve science, I’ll stand with the conservatives against them. Until then, all the aborted fetuses of the world are just being wasted.

  • ScienceLawyer

    Repeat after me:a blastocyst is not a persona blastocyst is not a persona blastocyst is not a personthe earth is not flatthe sun does not revolve around the earthdinosaurs did not co-exist with humans

  • PH

    If you know of someone who has an organ you need – or even money that you need – many here would say it is OK to kill them in order to save yourself. What goes around, comes around.

  • Ronald Sande

    Proven embryonic stem cell lines exist. It is folly to think that millions more stem cell lines can be proven or need to be proven. My greatest concern is the opening of this new flood gate of money will be advantaged by many researchers and research facilities in need of funds for survival of their careers. I have worked 38 years in this environment and I know that 50% of the research and 50% of the researchers are below average. Simple medicines are constantly proven faulty after certification by research, FDA and the press. Chemicals are simple and straight forward compared to cells. Be careful! We may get more than we pay for with these tax dollars unwisely invested.

  • Carol

    Before anymore of you go slamming a Jesuit Priest as just another ignoramus, you would do well to do a google search on what it takes to become a Jesuit Priest. When you are finished with this project I think you will feel a bit silly for assuming that such priests are not educated in science. Many have PhDs and can mop the floor with your ‘more-educated-than-thou’ little comments.

  • jkl

    So, how is it more ethical to flush embryos down the drain, rather than to use them to develop treatments and cures for conditions that cause disease, disability, suffering, and death for millions of people? We’re supposed to have more concern for a little multicellular blob that can’t be distinguished from a sea urchin larvae, than we are for a living, breathing, suffering human? Do you really think that that’s what God wants you to do?

  • L

    a PhD does not mean one is an expert in any and all fields. It does not automatically even mean one is an expert in his own field at the rate at which schools hand out honorary PhDs. And lets not even get started about what a PhD means in a non math/science field.

  • Roger Holtz6mann

    Your approach to embryonic stem cell research is well-thought out and reasonable and has absolutely no chance of ever being followed. The Obama administration has no intention of accomodating opinions other than its own on life issues – with FOCA being the prime example. Health-care practitioners and institutions who believe abortion is tantamount to murder are the only ones who WON’T have freedom of choice.

  • Ronald Sande

    Proven embryonic stem cell lines exist. It is folly to think that millions more stem cell lines can be proven or need to be proven. My greatest concern is the opening of this new flood gate of money will be advantaged by many researchers and research facilities in need of funds for survival of their careers. I have worked 38 years in this environment and I know that 50% of the research and 50% of the researchers are below average. Simple medicines are constantly proven faulty after certification by research, FDA and the press. Chemicals are simple and straight forward compared to cells. Be careful! We may get more than we pay for with these tax dollars unwisely invested.It is good that blastocysts are not partisan and belong to no religion. They are omnipotent and injection of a stem cell into a person with Alzheimer’s will certainly result in repair of the problem and injection into a diabetic will repair the disease and Parkinson’s will be reversed. We should all receive a stem cell and live forever for they must know what is needed. But that would require a “good” stem cell. A “bad” stem cell may choose to develop a neoplasm in the brain—ah but the “good” cells would repair that defect and disallow any others for they are omnipotent and there are millions of stem cells from millions of embryos just waiting for their opportunity to perform in the “Stem Cell Olympics”. This is not a matter of abort or not abort; pro-life or pro-death; Republican or Democrat; Left or Right. It is a matter of reason and responsibility. Scientific honesty will prevail but we should proceed with caution.

  • LoveThoseTissues

    How about the animal/human hybrids? Should those also be encouraged? They’re doing that research in Europe and California.

  • L

    Ronald, by definition about 50% of of the research is below average . Anyways , your caution is a general approach that should be taken while allocating funds in every research field and not just stem cell .

  • null

    Please continue your opposition to embryonic stem-cell research – and the inevitable benefits thereof. Please, also, oppose – on moral grounds – human-centric bioengineering, germ-line modification, neuroengineering; and molecular nanotechnology of any kind.When your civilisation is outfought, outthought, and outlived – in spheres social, military, and economic – perhaps you will realise that faith is neither necessary nor sufficient to survive as a culture. Think of it as evolution in action.

  • Dan

    Why should one religious group get to define what is moral?Jehovah’s Witnesses object to blood transfusions, but that doesn’t mean the government shouldn’t fund research related to transfusions.Most Americans believe it is a moral good to use embryonic stem cells for the purpose of medical research. We believe it is immoral to impede this research, as President Bush did.

  • IS

    It really would be best for all concerned if you put your hooded robe on, go back into your cave to dance around the fire, and don’t come out…forever.

  • Hawaii Thinker

    Mr. Reese’s position is very wise. Finding reasonable middle ground on important social issues is key for any politician seeking reelection. During the campaign Mr. Obama was foolish enough to advocate the destruction of his own grandchildren with the comment that he doesn’t want his daughter “punished with a baby” if she makes a mistake. Considering his mother was unwed at the time of her pregnancy, and that black children are the most likely to be aborted in the U.S., you would think Mr. Obama would better able to understand the importance of human life. It is likely that Mr. Obama himself woul not be here had he been conceived after the Roe decision.The Obama administration should find the spine to embrace some common sense ideas like the one outlined by Mr. Reese. Condoms and abortions for elementary and middle school students and opposing parent notification of such madness will not get my vote. It completely upsurd that the media treats these positions as main stream.

  • gina4

    I think the ideas at the end of this article are much better than a free for all on embryos. Probable even using embryos that were going to be destroyed anyway is still wrong, as creating them in excess to begin with is wrong. But if Obama is going to reverse the ban, at least control it somewhat. A person wrote how “stupid” those of us who object really are. Do we think “eating eggs is killing chickens?” Well, yes, if those eggs are fertilized. Believe me, if you cracked open a fertilized chicken egg you would most assuredly know it was a chicken!! Barf!!

  • Humanity raise

    Ethically repugnant? What? Eating pork is the etihcally repugnant for Muslims, so is eating beef for Hindus, Buddhist might have something else, Jews have other things, Christians have other…list goes on. Lets ban everything and go back to stone age. Let god decide everything.Yeah right!What a baseless argument these hardcore religious folks have! Cannot spare an embryo, but can let thousands die because of terrible diseases? I have no problem in anyone following their faith, but let them mind their own business and others mind their own. So please don’t interfere in scientist’s job. I’m pretty sure they know what they’re doing better than priests.United States of America is regarded as the forefront of technology and science, let it stay that way, please!

  • Vince

    My 16 year old step daughter has Cystic Fibrosis (CF). It is a terminal illness. She has to use THE VEST, a $20,000 breathing treatment machine that is on loan to us from the hospital. There is currently no cure for CF. Stem cell research could change that for her, and she may live longer if stem cells are able to help her lungs grow new tissue. I am all for stem cell research, especially considering the fact that it is (albeit, eventually) possible to grow new organs in a full grown human body. I want my daughter to live a very long and happy life; no parent should ever have to bury their child. To that end, I hope that I live long enough to see her get married and possibly have children some day. I believe that stem cell research, coupled with some sort of retrovirus activators and bacterial inhibitors, would allow that dream to come true.Understand that I am not inhibited by some sort of moral dogma that was created by people who have too much regard for human life by day and none by night. What I mean by this is that some people praise goodness and life in the public eye, but they are also all for war, death of the enemy, capital punishment, the death penalty, and much more atrocious crimes that I would not even care to contemplate when not being scrutinized by WE THE PEOPLE. Thou shall not kill is one of the highest laws; if that is so, then why do so many of our public leaders, and indeed clergy, lead us into damnation by condoning and even supporting and exhonorating it as one of the noblest deeds that some one can do? Seriously, science does not impose this problem. I am all for it going forward and finding cures to diseases, be they genetic or sexually transmitted ones, such as AIDS…if there is a way to kill a virus by science, be it a bacteria, all the various forms of cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, and so much more, then where is the harm in taking aborted fetuses and such that are going to be incinerated anyways??? I am hyperglycemic, my wife has a thyroid problem and has been diagnosed with a chemical imbalance that makes her insane after she gave birth to our last child, and cancer runs in both sides of the family. We support science to help those of the common people who do not have the voice, that do not have the capability that the more priviledged of us have, and we support those who chose to create life from death, which is part of the natural order as well. Hopefully, some scientist will read this, or maybe the Pope, whose visage appears below this message box, and will see that be it called science of man, or knowledge bestowed on an individual from god to better mankind, it is beneficial and not against nature. Thank you.

  • Alex

    What would you suggest doing to address the concerns of the many Americans who find fertility clinics themselves repugnant because they necessarily result in the creation and subsequent disposal of excess embryos?

  • Joe in CA

    I hate to have to say it, but at some point we need to draw the line and let people die. Our earth is suffering an overpopulation problem, and it’s frustrating that instead of encouraging people to have less children, or adopt children who are already unwanted, fertility clinics are making this problem worse by helping parents have multiple children, the woman who gave birth to the 8 children recently notwithstanding. If parents can’t have children, isn’t that a sign that they shouldn’t be having any more? Aren’t there studies that show that IVF children are more prone to problems such as clefts and/or holes in the walls of their hearts? Maybe infertility is nature’s form of natural eugenics? And now, not only are doctors in the business of creating more children, adding to the population problem, but also helping those who need to die live longer? Stem-cell research is unethical in more ways than one. I think, perhaps there should be a period of free-reign on stem-cell research. And then, stopped forever. It is unethical that parents are killing embryos for their own selfish ends; why not instead encourage these parents to adopt? It is unethical that stem-cell research would benefit from the gleanings of throw-away embryos of fertility clinics, ethically questionable institutions in and of themselves. Seriously. I as a taxpayer am not happy that my dollars are going into this.

  • Donna

    Clarification on consequences if the process is used for the demise of the human race. Benefits derived from the process belong to the people, since the people have subsidized this experimental opportunity. No more using taxpayer funds then turning around and charging outageous fees for things like by pass surgery or medications that pharma companies make millions on. Taxpayers need a return on their investment.

  • Anonymous

    What hypocrisy! Organized religion is responsible for more human deaths (in some of the most horrible ways imaginable) than other other human endeavor.Yet now these superstitious dark-age throwbacks are insisting that a using human embryo (a lump of protoplasm with no nervous system and less cellular development than a common house-fly) for scientific research is equivalent to murder — even though these same embryos are tossed in the trash each day at tens of thousands of hospitals. Apart from the ridiculous claim that such a lump of matter has a “soul” and is “divine” and so forth, these same dolts insist they have the right in the USA to proselytize on the taxpayers dime.Personally, I think we should euthanize all those in the USA who still worship some ancient Middle Eastern mythical creature in the sky and salvage their organs for use in *sane* human beings while we have a chance — that is — before that evil-looking little twerp, the pope, has us all burned alive for being ‘non-believers’ (and I bet he damn sure would if he could)…

  • Cindy Murphy

    I heard there is more progress made on adult stem cells while nothing was done using embrionic stem cells. That should say something. I’d rather see the money go to adult stem cell research. Using babies is unethical.

  • Joe in CA

    To Anonymous:You don’t have to be a ‘superstitious dark-age throwbacks’ to think that human life should be respected. To those who readily want to kill embryos and support abortion, the human embryos growing inside women are ‘lumps of protoplasm with no nervous system and less cellular development than a common house-fly.’For us who think that human life should be respected, a human life is a human life, fully, or not fully formed. It is irrelevant that embryos die every day. People die every day. That can’t be helped. That doesn’t justify the killing of innocent people because ‘others die’ anyway. What kind of argument is that?Creating human life to take it away to benefit someone else is unethical. Adults can now make stem cells. What’s with the insistence of killing countless human lives for “research?”WHY do we need to find more ways to keep humans alive for longer when we can’t find enough ways to keep the population down, nevermind we’re helping people who shouldn’t be having children produce countless new strain on the surplus population? Who’s going to pay for those octuplets? Who’s going to adopt all the orphans we beg unwanting mothers not to abort?Creating human life for organ transplant is not medicine. Neither is fertility. Help this world out. Let terminally ill people die. Adopt children instead of creating more, who might end up being multiple births, and/or sick children who shouldn’t even have been born because their parents had bad chromosomes and “science” helped them force a pregnancy.

  • John G. Moran

    I suffered a catastrophic disabling illness in my early thirties and saw first-hand the intense suffering ordinary people–including children–must face in cases of severe illness. I think religious people like Father Reese are no different from Marxists, officers of the Inquisition or other malevolent narcissists throughout history who have eagerly accepted, condoned and enabled the most horrific human anguish in the name of a higher morality.

  • M

    with all due respect, if you think life was created by a “supreme” being, you should not be judging science! It is an embryo. It is not a functioning human (in the terms that functioning humans can understand).

  • Steve davis

    This never should have been an issue. The great potential medical gains were subverted by bush for cynical political exploitation of the extreme right wing base.

  • trippin

    Here are some suggestions for YOU, my arrogant little friend:1. The government does all sorts of things with my tax dollars that I find repugnant, including the thinly-veiled funding of churches through so-called “faith-based initiatives.” Therefore, either speak out against the spending on things I find repugnant, or self-identify as a full-on hypocrite.2. Further, you need to speak out more regularly. Where were you when Bush decided to slaughter hundreds of thousands of Muslims, spending a trillion dollars in our tax money? Never saw anything here about protecting those living humans whose status is in no doubt. But now, you’re busting a blood vessel over blastocysts. Again, full-on hypocrisy.3. When cures are found from blastocysts, you just go right ahead and deny them to yourself and your family. In the meantime, quit putting your superstitions in the way of the rest of us getting our cures.4. Finally, you need to stick to what you know: superstition. Leave the science to the scientists.You can’t freeze a human being, there, Einstein. These balls of cells are FROZEN. If they are thawed and not nurtured, they die. They survive in stasis specifically because they are NOT human beings. As for having the potential to be a human being, let me point out that you and I both share the inevitability of becoming worm food, so let’s not make decisions based on that goofy nonsense.So before we all reach that inevitable end, we need to make our quality of life here on earth as good as we possibly can. Those who don’t share your whimsical belief in an afterlife see no reward for suffering through our one shot at a life just so your imaginary daddy figure up in the sky isn’t offended.How about this? Stand aside, and let your invisible daddy sort it out later after you’re dead.

  • trippin

    Joe in CA says: “WHY do we need to find more ways to keep humans alive for longer when we can’t find enough ways to keep the population down, nevermind we’re helping people who shouldn’t be having children produce countless new strain on the surplus population?”I don’t want to attack you personally, Joe, but seriously, that is so profoundly uninformed that I wonder why you even bother.We’re talking about people whose quality of life here on earth, not in some imaginary afterlife, is at issue. They have debilitating disease or injury. They live in pain every day. This holds promise of allowing parts of the body to regenerate.These people aren’t dying, they’re suffering. And you just have all the damn answers, don’t you? Well, Joe With All The Answers, I’d like to be able to walk normally again, and when know-it-all superstitious freaks stand in the way of that, it really seriously makes me think ill thoughts of you — at not merely your profound ignorance, but your resolute Bushian arrogance about it.As for “adult stem cells,” my guess is that you are not a biologist, but you are repeating the spoon-fed talking points of those like-minded superstition-driven holy-then-thou Christo-fascists who live to codify their religious dogma into laws that affect everyone regardless of their faith or lack of it. This is a direct parallel to the institution of Sharia law as far as I’m concerned. It’s a tactic of the Taliban. And it’s anti-American.Joe, I’m gonna leave climate change to the climatologists, and stem cell research to the biologists. You and the rest of the anti-intellectual crowd are free to claim that just because you change the batteries in your smoke detector twice a year that you’re all electrical engineers too. We’re not laughing with you, we’re laughing at you.As for you being a taxpayer and not liking it, well, I presume you were in favor of slaughtering Muslims at what will exceed a trillion dollars of our expense? Otherwise why would you be wasting your time complaining about how your tax dollars are spent on this comparative drop in the bucket? Well, Joe, welcome to America. If I could have the government not spend any money on things I didn’t like, those faith-based initiative would be GONE, as would half the so-called “defense” department.Joe, you’re obviously free to believe what you want, but your beliefs end at the tip of your nose. I can’t help it you were brainwashed as a child into believing there is a Santa Claus. Seek help, or find a rock to roll in front of your cave for all I care. But leave the rest of us to reclaim what we can from our all-too-short lives here on earth together.

  • Harris

    The decision can’t be made less ‘ethically repugnant’ to those who oppose stem cell research, and no one should bother trying to ‘comfort’ them, bring them around, etc. It is an entirely contrived moral revulsion, and shouldn’t be indulged.

  • Ray Mumme

    This is great information; we need more people in this arena on Stem Cells. There is a new product out for everyone today; Stem Cells are here for you now. I would like to introduce you to the World’s First Stem Cell Enhancer. It is proven by Science and Medical Teams in a Peer Review study.

  • arosscpa

    The overwhelming assumption that goes unquestioned, not only with stem cell research, but with all medical research, is that suffering is bad, evil, to be avoided and eliminated.I am 53 and suffer from multiple disabilities because of spine and brain injuries. I was recently provisionally diagnosed with a degenerative condition of the brain stem.(MSA)At times life has been hard for me, my family, and friends. Some of it was down right ugly, but I would not trade the worst day for anything.Suffering teaches all of us to value the good days and the mediocre days. It teaches us to dig deeper for meaning, happiness and fulfillment. It deepens our closest relationships beyond the tactile, the verbal, and the eye candy. Suffering produces our greatest art, music, and literature. If suffering can make some want to take their life or that of another, it proves for more of us that life is too valuable to let it slip away half-lived.Some of you do not want to live in a world with suffering. I am not sure I want to live in a world without it.

  • lucy09

    The change in policy for funding embyronic stem cells is not a legislative change. It changes funding of research policy. This is only about “research” use. Nothing is about funding or supporting commercial application. Our new president is fullfilling his campaign promise by changing this policy. This is democracy in action.

  • Damon

    I am not morally opposed to stem cell research, I just don’t want taxpayer dollars paying for it. Why is that not an issue as well?

  • Hal

    Just as those who support no blood transfusions for themselves or their children , let’s see how many will ultimately deny themselves or their children the research benefits of embryonic stem cells. I’ll guarantee that only a very few would do so ! What hypocracy !

  • Jane

    If you can turn an adult cell into a stem cell with all the properties of an embryonic stem cell both such cells are morally equivalent: both could be turned into a human being if provided with an appropriate environment — an natural or artificial womb. Biological facts have made a hash of the position of those who idolize stems cells: what are they to make of the fact that we will shortly be able to clone any living human cell with a full complement of DNA? Am I to be accused of mass murder if I clip a hangnail — remember that each of those cells has the potential for human life if given the right environment.

  • Senator Cat

    Let’s leave the science to the scientists and the theology to the theologians.

  • zotz

    The less educated you are, the more likely you are to be a gods-believer. The dumber you are by nature, the less able you are to overcome your silly religion.Now some would argue that correlation is not causation, and I have to agree with that.But correlation is correlation. I wonder about the desire by those religious to prevent “uncomfortable” science from being studied, to dumb down the population … perhaps they see this correlation as well.

  • betsy3

    zotz: says

  • betsy3

    zotz: says

  • Zotz

    Politicians have to claim to believe this crap or you believers won’t vote for them. You have a religious test expressly forbidden by the constitution.Besides, this president we have now is like all other presidents – a politician, which is greek for “pandering scumbag”.

  • P. Purcell

    Great! Some original thinking that made it out where the public can see it. Obama should pay attention.

  • Josh

    Children are born into extreme poverty every day on this planet. All they know is starvation, and they die from it or any number of preventable diseases on a daily basis long before they reach adulthood.If your hearts really bleed so much for a human embryo used in research, where is your disgust and opposition when those same embryos are allowed to be developed and born into an unchanging cycle of starvation, illness and death? Into societies which can’t provide for them or give them any real chance of survival?

  • Researcher

    I do not doubt that the research on embryonic stem cells will be fruitful, however nobody consider how the potential treatment will look like. Let suppose that researchers find a way to force embryonic stem cells to produce, for example, insulin. To treat a person with diabetes type-I, it will be required first to take from this person sperm/ovum and use for in vitro fertilization in order to create an embryo which will be next used to create cells producing insulin. Such cells will be introduced into this person. There is still chance that the cells producing insulin will be rejected by the patient because they have 50% of genetic information from this person. I suppose that the next generation of studies in our future would be to create cells which will be accepted by patient. To achieve this it will be better to create embryos from sperm/ovum of patient and his/her mother/father, that means incest embryos, since only such cells will have much grater chance to be accepted by patient’s body.Would you like to treat your illness in such way? Would you agree to create embryos with your wife/husband’s ovum/sperm by in vitro fertilization, which would be your unborn daughter or son, in order to treat your illness? I think that it is good that people have an ideas but not all ideas are “proper “. We need all to let people understand where it will go, how this treatment will look like. I do not believe that this is the only way to treat the illness. It may be the shortest way but not the only.Researcher

  • betsy3

    I see the like minded Hitler types and his thugs are thriving and finding a venue to spurt their tired and insane dogma that some human life isn’t deserving of the same dignity and respect as some other form of human life.

  • chp3

    Folks,Those against are very short sighted. The rest of the world is ahead in the category. Like our space program Stem Cell Research will not only result directly saving lives but it will also become part of our National Security in ways that we yet to understand.

  • betsy3

    Josh: Josh are you suggesting that these starving children should be put to death or aborted before they were born?What makes you think that these children aren’t loved and adored by their parents? Just because their life is miserable does that mean they should have died before being born?

  • Anonymous

    “Even for strong backers of embryonic stem cell research, the decision is no longer as self-evident as it was, because there is markedly diminished need for expanding these cell lines for either patient therapy or basic research. In fact, during the first six weeks of Obama’s term, several events reinforced the notion that embryonic stem cells, once thought to hold the cure for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and diabetes, are obsolete. The most sobering: a report from Israel published in PLoS Medicine in late February that shows embryonic stem cells injected into patients can cause disabling if not deadly tumors.”

  • betsy3

    Dan: saysJehovah’s Witnesses object to blood transfusions, but that doesn’t mean the government shouldn’t fund research related to transfusions.Most Americans believe it is a moral good to use embryonic stem cells for the purpose of medical research. We believe it is immoral to impede this research, as President Bush did.The Hitler mentality is thriving and well. Just because one group is in the majority doesn’t mean it is okay. Dan, it isn’t just religious people who find research on the unborn repungent. You are silly.

  • Richard

    I remember watching my father die slowly of starvation from Parkinsons disease. Two are now dead in my family so that ‘Christians’ don’t have to be offended by the search for a cure.You ‘Christian’ cowards. Speak the name of the member of YOUR family you are willing to watch die for your religion. We’re all waiting, we would all like to know. God himself might be listening for your answer.Speak! Cowards.

  • Agent420

    Grow up and stop following fossils.

  • zotz

    wowo betsy3, you sure do know how to miss the point of what someone says don’t you? You really need to support your opinion so badly that you don’t even pay attention.What I read from Dan was that all you research-haters spend time worrying about stem cells but little or no time about existing children who are already starving. He never said they should be killed … he said you are hypocrites.

  • Josh

    Betsy:I’m not suggesting that we abort or kill anyone.I simply want to express that if people find research on unborn babies ‘repulsive,’ than they should find the things being done to lives that are undeniably human to be absolutely unacceptable. I don’t understand how anyone can be so passionate about the unborn embryo when it’s clear that we aren’t capable of offering that same passion to the population we already have.

  • arosscpa

    Josh: “If your hearts really bleed so much for a human embryo used in research, where is your disgust and opposition when those same embryos are allowed to be developed and born into an unchanging cycle of starvation, illness and death?”OK, let’s follow your line of thought. Let’s dole out representation for decision making authority based on who does the most to fight hunger, homelessness, disease, human trafficking, etc. Who do you think wins: the religious or the areligious?

  • Neusa Appler

    If the US keeps the actual police about this matter I am sure the wealthy local people will be going in a very close future to other countries to have they ill relatives treated. The whole thing sounds stupid to me.

  • Steve

    Thank you, President Obama…

  • betsy3

    California has been allocating tax dollars for stem cell research for years. Where are the results? hmm I think they are finding that parents of unborn children that they created using IVF are not donating their embryos for experiments. Maybe these parents don’t have the “right” mind set. They should be reading the contributions on here and see that they are morally obligated to donate their children (yes they do think of their embryos as children, not garbage as some on here think)for research.

  • arosscpa

    Richard: My condolences on the death of your father and the suffering that your family endured.”You ‘Christian’ cowards. Speak the name of the member of YOUR family you are willing to watch die for your religion. “I am in a position not unlike your father, and I have answered your question with the only answer that seems just to me.Myself.

  • arosscpa

    CHP3:Your thought process seems to follow the same catastrophic school that produced the largest humanitarian disasters and tragedies of the 20th century.Knowledge is not morality.

  • betsy3

    Josh wroteI don’t understand how anyone can be so passionate about the unborn embryo when it’s clear that we aren’t capable of offering that same passion to the population we already have.”

  • betsy3

    Richard: My condolences on the death of your father and the suffering that your family endured.”You ‘Christian’ cowards. Speak the name of the member of YOUR family you are willing to watch die for your religion. “Richard do you really believe you or your father could and should live forever? We all die. It is a fact. No Christian coward’s actions can change the fact that your father had an incurable illness. Or that he would not have lived forever.

  • Brent Burgee

    5th paragraph. Second occurence of ‘their’ should be ‘there’. C’mon, Washington Post!

  • RCharles

    Ann writes: “It is a scientific fact that human life begins at conception.”Ann, please provide some suitable scientific references to support your claim. If life begins immediately they why does Nature discard about half of all naturally created embryos? If each embryo is a human life, why are so many discarded, sometimes without the knowledge of the woman involved?For now, let’s assume that “god” created Nature – since we don’t know who else might have done it. If an embryo is, immediately, a human life and “god’s” Nature aborts it wouldn’t these be “god approved” abortions?RegardsRCharles

  • sue

    When a child is,parents are asked if saving cordblood at a one time price. Wich I think is a great idea. That childs future has more posabilities if in an unforseen accident that threatens poralisses or brain damage. Id give the world to have my son back. As I’m sure if we think this way, it would pass quicker. something can be worked out concerning marketing at an affordable price. And government control.

  • G.D.Wymer

    Why, oh why are the religious so inclined to moronic thinking? It is all right by them that women and their sperm donors (husbands of course!) can manipulate their bodies for baby production with no particular remorse for the leftover “material” that is aways a result of this imperfect process of manufacture, but when it comes to stem cells their absurd logic becomes so pathetically transparent. Maybe these would-be parents should adopt. Maybe they should understand that perhaps God does not want them to have children. Maybe they should pray harder and just keep quiet about things they refuse to understand. Reese, really? I don’t think any intelligent people will have a difficult time seeing through your hypocrisy.

  • Lookaround

    Isn’t the crux of this issue that the Catholic church, amongst others, believes in a “soul” – a mystical “essence” of life, for which there is no evidence or indeed any reasonable explanation. Typically, it’s believed to be some “spirit” that somehow represents the person, continues forever, and goes off to: Hell, Heaven, Limbo or Purgatory, depending on whether the biological person passed or failed the appropriate religious test.

  • arosscpa

    RCharles,As unsatisfying as Ann’s response may be, I think the burden shifts to someone in your camp to provide us with a verifiable demarcation for the beginning humanity for the embryo. At one time, viability was considered such a marker, 25-27 weeks. The trouble is that viability is increasingly determine by science and technology,such that viability keeps “occurring” earlier in pregnancy. At least conception isn’t a moving target.

  • Huggiest Bear

    Science, Science, Science.I have no problem with science. I love science. I respect science. I also fear science. Science without bounds is as scary as religion without bounds. But I understand people’s excitement and enthusiasm over the possibilities of stem cell research. What I don’t understand is the very non-scientific way so many people are attempting to discredit their opponents. There is post after post after post asking why nobody on here is outraged by ______ or _____ or _____. This blog is about one issue. Just because someone speaks out here, doesn’t mean they’re not just as vocal (if not more so) on other issues. What’s even more troubling is that so many people are willing to dismiss the author because he’s a priest. Knowledge, education, and interest in one subject doesn’t inhibit knowledge, education, and interest in another. Need proof: Gregor Mendel was a priest and Darwin seriously considered becoming one.How can you claim to seek knowledge when you refuse to even open your ears.You don’t need to agree. In fact, I would prefer you didn’t – it will yield more interesting and productive discussions. But using excuses to dismiss the thoughts of others is, well, downright unscientific.

  • Anonymous

    Pythagoreans stressed that the human soul was created at the time of conception and this is reflected in the Hippocratic oath. Hippocrates was of seemingly a minority position in ancient Greece, in that he disapproved of abortion. The Oath expressly forbids giving a woman “an instrument to produce abortion,” and it has been interpreted to forbid inducing abortion by any other method (Tribe 1990). Hippocrates’ outright disapproval of abortion stemmed from his belief that conception marked the beginning of a human life (Tribe 1990).Plato contended that the human soul does not enter the body until birth, and this was determinative for legal science in ancient Roman society (Buss 1967). In his Republic, Plato writes that abortion should be compelled in any woman who becomes pregnant after forty. Plato, in the ideal state detailed in his Republic, laid it down as a matter of eugenic policy that parents should bear children for the state for a defined period of years. After that period sexual intercourse would be permitted, but the couple involved would make every effort to prevent any children conceived from seeing light and dispose of the newborn child only if the former course proved impossible (Bonner 1985). This issues has been debated for thousands of years. Notice that one side, Plato’s, even believed in eugenics and the controlling of other people’s decisions on bearing children. Scary times back then. What kind of times do we live in?

  • betsy3

    Pythagoreans stressed that the human soul was created at the time of conception and this is reflected in the Hippocratic oath. Hippocrates was of seemingly a minority position in ancient Greece, in that he disapproved of abortion. The Oath expressly forbids giving a woman “an instrument to produce abortion,” and it has been interpreted to forbid inducing abortion by any other method (Tribe 1990). Hippocrates’ outright disapproval of abortion stemmed from his belief that conception marked the beginning of a human life (Tribe 1990).Plato contended that the human soul does not enter the body until birth, and this was determinative for legal science in ancient Roman society (Buss 1967). In his Republic, Plato writes that abortion should be compelled in any woman who becomes pregnant after forty. Plato, in the ideal state detailed in his Republic, laid it down as a matter of eugenic policy that parents should bear children for the state for a defined period of years. After that period sexual intercourse would be permitted, but the couple involved would make every effort to prevent any children conceived from seeing light and dispose of the newborn child only if the former course proved impossible (Bonner 1985). This issues has been debated for thousands of years. Notice that one side, Plato’s, even believed in eugenics and the controlling of other people’s decisions on bearing children. Scary times back then. What kind of times do we live in?

  • stem cell biologist

    To the huge number of people leaving obviously uninformed comments regarding the biology of this matter….1. Most of the time you see info regarding the large number of treatments possible using adult stem cells, the numbers come from hematopoietic stem cells, in the form of bone marrow transplants. Useful, yes, but the scope of treatments is limited and the supply of these cells is limited. Sure there are other adult-stem cells with potential uses, but many bias the numbers by using the statistics from bone marrow transplant. 2. Obtaining therapeutic numbers of adult SCs is problematic as they are more committed than ESCs and taking them out of their anatomical niche can detrimentally effect their potential. ESCs can create adult stem cells. I am not saying that adult SCs are not useful, I am just saying that they are not a current substitute for ESCs by any stretch of the imagination. 3. iPS cells have enormous potential, however the only reason we were able to create them and appreciate them is because of years of embryonic stem cell research. Every functional test performed on iPS cells is based on tests developed using embryonic stem cells. It is not clear whether iPS are identical to ESCs. They seem to be on a functional level, but more extensive molecular analysis is needed. I understand how some people could find this research unethical, but I suggest you educate yourself on the biology of the matter. In this day and age, any cell containing a diploid genome has the potential to create life, this includes iPS cells. Life is created through the execution of the genetic program by coupling the “potential” to a unique biological environment (womb).I don’t intend to change anyone’s mind, especially those with strong faith based convictions (i personally feel that unquestioning belief in anything is dangerous). Obama’s plan does not allow for gov’t money to be spent on creating and destroying embryos, it funds research on lines that exist, or on use of embryos that are slated for disposal. The bottom line is, if you don’t understand the biology on a high level, don’t comment on it because you most likely did not critically evaluate the data.

  • Bernie

    It seems to be to the advantage of both the far religious right and the far left to frame the issue of destroying the potential lives of the unborn as a religious issue. I don’t believe the potential life of the unborn is expendable any more than my own or anyone else’s potential life is expendable. I can’t see demanding that the government protect the potential I have to live a couple more decades while agreeing with those who think the potential of the unborn to live a century or more is expendable. My right to live doesn’t protect just what I am, it also protects what I have the potential to become. My potential life is, in fact, the only life one can take from me. Unfortunately, many of those who want to protect the unborn seem to think they can do so without developing a nonlethal method of terminating unwanted pregnancies. The prolife movement will have no more success without a nonlethal method of terminating unwanted pregnancies than the pacifist movement has had stopping the use of lethal weapons without first developing effective nonlethal weapons. Before worrying about the rights of others, people worry about protecting themselves first whether it be protecting their lives or their repropductive freedom. In the case of stem cells, there seems to be a chance we will be able to protect ourselves from

  • betsy3

    Why Plato became demented during the time he wrote the Republic:The Romans also used lead to halt the fermentation of wines and to preserve food. Their drinking vessels and cookware were coated with lead glazes. (Ceramics are still a source of lead exposure in modern times.) Today, we know that lead penetrates the protective blood-brain barrier and is proving to be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease and senile dementia.

  • betsy3

    AGNOS,

  • arosscpa

    Stem Cell biologist:The bottom line is, if you don’t understand the bioethics, philosophy, morality, theology, and law on a high level, don’t comment on it because you most likely did not critically evaluate the data.

  • betsy3

    This is a pointless exercise. No one on here’s opinion is going to change. It just is what it is.

  • Anonymous

    arosscpa: saysThe bottom line is, if you don’t understand the bioethics, philosophy, morality, theology, and law on a high level, don’t comment on it because you most likely did not critically evaluate the data.Well that certianly doesn’t describe you or anyone else on here. No one has the answers. Some would say only God has the answers to any of this. We all will be dead in 120 years so what does it matter.

  • stem cell biologist

    arosscpa: I am not an expert in those fields, that is why I restricted my comments to the biology of the matter. If you have any useful insight based on your expertise I would like to hear it.

  • Richard314159

    A zygote (fertilized egg) is not a human.The only moral question here is at what point a mass of cells becomes a human. This is similar to the discussion we had a few hundred years ago about dissecting human cadavers. We must get religious people out of science and We depend on Science to make decisions,

  • betsy3

    Treatment of spinal cord injuries with neurons derived from ESCs is already beginning. No it isn’t, it is being tested and besides they didn’t use embryos for the testing. They used adult stem cells.

  • stem cell biologist

    betsy3: First, I said that it was “beginning”. This is quite a feat considering the ideological handicap placed on developing these treatments over the last 8 years.Second, if you would have taken the time to read the link I provided or examined the topic further you would see that the phase 1 human trials will be using oligodendrocyte progenitor cells DERIVED from embryonic stem cells. Sure, if you want to mislead people you could say they are ADULT stem cells, but injection of pure ESCs into an individual will never happen as one of the functional diagnostics for an ESC is the teratoma forming assay. If you inject undifferentiated ESCs into an individual they will form a teratoma. Therefore, ESCs must be directed through in vitro differentiation into more committed progenitors before they ares safe to inject.

  • betsy3

    stem cell biologist,Stem cells used to reverse paralysis in animals

  • Guillermo Paredes Lima, Perú

    As opposed to statements mentioned here, biologist/scientist should not have the only say on the future of science.Doing so would be the equivalent of having only generals decide on what to do about nuclear weapons.

  • iNTERFAITHNATION

    Hello Suckers!

  • iNTERFAITHNATION

    Ya Ya; there’s a ‘sucker born every minute”!if implanted (weather from a 14 Year old Kiod etc..) in an O.V.U.M then “IT”, from the “Due-To-Be “flashing-Moment” will Zygotely-Ariseth n”AS IS” MEMEtically! akaYe [iMMORTAL] Miracl;e in Holyi-Cosmioc Motion SONG!

  • J A Reyes

    Obviously, the writer doesn’t know what embryonic cells are which is why he is pushing the same tired Bush administration policy. Embryonic cells are not fetuses. They are cells which are not anything. But they can be used to find cures for diabetes, spinal cord injuries or can even be grown into an organ that could save someone’s life.I believe that the Supreme Being, whatever you would like to call him/her put us on the earth to solve the earth’s ills and to be guardians of the animal life and resources on the plant. Not to blow ourselves up. By seeking cures to diseases we live up to a higher purpose.Of course there will always be unethical people who would use these embryonic stem cells for purposes other than to find cures. That is why it’s important to spell out the purpose for which stem cells should be used. But the idea that we should not use them is ludicrous and belongs to the Bush administration that also wanted to impose creationism as “science”. And that certainly is not.

  • Ignorance Police

    Betsy3 Says: “Why Plato became demented during the time he wrote the Republic:There’s only one small problem with this.Plato was Greek.

  • betsy3

    Betsy3 Says: “Why Plato became demented during the time he wrote the Republic:Greeks also used lead to glaze pottery and in wine making. I didn’t say he was Roman, but he had to be crazy to write some of the things he wrote in the Replublic…

  • elections have consequences

    Guillermo Paredes Lima, Perú:Very true. However, here in the USA we had an election last November to determine our country’s direction on both science and war. Guess who won?

  • betsy3

    FDA approved trial notes:

  • MSB

    >> A zygote (fertilized egg) is not a human.Sure it is. It’s a human being at the zygote stage of development. Any biology text book will tell you that. I think what you really mean to say is “a zygote is not a human with the same rights as an adult human”.>> The only moral question here is at what point a mass of cells becomes a human.Ah… but that’s two different questions, isn’t it? Surely you wouldn’t argue that a teenager in a coma is cognizant, would you? And I doubt you are advocating that we allow scientists to terminate coma patient’s lives so they can perform experiments on their body parts are you? And as “science” (not religion) has taught us, a fertilized egg is most definitely a human (if not human, then what is it?).If embryos weren’t human, then there would be no moral question at all. For example, nobody is arguing that we should ban adult stem cell research. The issue is that in the process of extracting the embryonic stem cells, you must destroy the embryo. You are arguing that all human beings do not have the same rights. While I, and plenty others, are arguing that all human beings have the same right not to be killed.

  • iNTERFAITHNATION

    YE know not what Ye saith, Ebroyanically-spaketh!

  • clarity

    MSB, you have no idea what you’re talking about. ‘Human being’ is not a concept with any biological meaning. ‘Human being’ is an ethical concept.

  • Winski

    I find your argument that proposes to limit the use of ANY stem cell for research into disease treatment repugnant. Your argument is based solely on a religious thread which has ZERO place in this discussion – NONE.The best thing you could possibly do here is quietly back away from the discussion, say thank you very much and go away.

  • betsy3

    “All Geron Corp. has done is turn all their embryonic stem cells into mature nerve cells”The cells being used in the trial are derived from the H1 human embryonic stem cell line, which was created before 9 August 2001 and thus eligible for federal research funding. However, Geron received no federal funding for the studies leading up to the clinical trial or to support the trial itself. “The work is at a highly experimental stage and there’s still a question mark over the capacity of these cells to form tumours,” she said. “What worries me is that patients will really believe this is going to cure their spinal injury.” She pointed out that other research teams in Australia and Portugal were developing spinal therapies using adult stem cells. “We’ve never changed our point of view, which is that embryonic stem cell treatments cannot ever be justified,” she said. The trial is only to test the safety of using stem cells. Not to treat the patients.There are plenty of scientists that are opposed to using embryonic stem cells, not just religious people. Why should people who do not support this research have to pay with federal funding?

  • jajejijoju

    you still fail to see the issue, it is a human being. I bet you wouldn’t accept these rules if you were talking about a group of 10-year-olds. The day you do treat them equally, you will understand the issue and the problem.

  • trippin

    ” >> A zygote (fertilized egg) is not a human.Sure it is. It’s a human being at the zygote stage of development.”No, it is demonstrably not: you cannot freeze a human being. Further, thaw a frozen embryo without nurturing it and it acts no differently than any cells cut off from nourishment. The cells die.Before you start with that tired, old “potential to be a human” gobbledygook, we all have the potential to be worm food too. Were we to make decisions on that potentiality we’d really be in trouble.Let’s leave the science to the biologists and the superstition to the mojo-bag fondlers. You are free to not avail yourself of cures you find morally objectionable. What you are not free to do is stand in the way of the rest of us who do not.

  • Michael D. Houst

    A human embryo is not a human being. “Humanity” requires a certain level of cognitive functioning. My cat or dog has an inarguably greater level of cognition than a human fetus. As do a cow, or pig, or chicken; yet there is no problem with killing any of them at need. An adult chimpanzee is infinitely more humanly cognitive and self-aware than a human fetus; yet there is nary a squeak about euthanizing one when necessary (except maybe by PETAphiles.)Christopher Reeves was practically bodiless for 10 years after his accident. It was his mind that defined his humanity; not his body. A body without a mind is simply warm flesh. Even in sleep, the human mind keeps working. When the mind stops, as with Karen Ann Quinlan, Terri Schiavo, Nancy Cruzan, Anthony David (“Tony”) Bland, Mordechai Dov Brody, et al., they lose the part of them that makes them human. An acorn is not an oak tree. A human fetus is not a human being.Interesting quote I came across illustrates the obsurdity of an embryo having a soul: ‘Given that approximately one-third of all conceptions are lost before the mother realises that she’s pregnant, shouldn’t conditional baptism be administered to all used sanitary protection, in case there’s a soul adhering to the detritus?’ God works in mysterious ways, but he’s not stupid. He may know you before you were born, but that doesn’t mean your soul is already embodied.A human embryo derives its value from its parent’s desires for it. If the pregnancy is unwanted, the embryo is unwanted, and has no value. Put it another way, “Don’t count your chickens until they are hatched” also applies to people.

  • rpvt

    The battle between superstition and scientific progress has been going on ever since UG first brought fire back to camp. I am sure that several members of the tribe thought it evil and too dangerous to use. We know how that argument turned out.A cell or even small cluster of cells in not a human being and should have no rights.

  • hyjanks

    Anyone care to join me down at the local fertility clinic as I boycott the fact that embryonic cells are being thrown in the trash?

  • MSB

    Look, I understand the reluctance to call an embryo a “human being”… especially when you are advocating for their destruction. But the simple “scientific” fact is that once a human egg is fertilized by a human sperm, it becomes a distinctly separate human organism.This is not debatable… science has resolved this issue.Now, I think it’s perfectly legitimate to have a debate about whether or not certain humans, with or without various cognitive abilities, deserve the same right not to be killed as you and I. But for it to be an honest debate, then you cannot simply deny basic science because it sounds bad.

  • Outlaw Torn

    There is no ethical dilemma concerning stem-cell research. Some religious people choose to see an ethical dilemma where there is none.

  • Rich R

    I can completely understand how different people might have different opinions on this topic.My opinion is that each person needs to follow their own inner self to reach their own conclusions.Our population did that when they elected Obama to replace Bush who followed ‘selective religion’ where he is able to lie without concern and start a war because he was able to manipulate opinion with lies and misrepresentation that it was a defensive necessity. How many people died????Full grown viable people died in a most horrible way, not a collection of developing cells……The way our system works is that the person elected by our system of representation is permitted to limit stem cell research because he was elected President. It is then fair and appropriate that Obama reverse the Bush decision on this topic, so that those who use logic and not ideology to make decisions such as this, are able to have representation as well.I had to deal with that moron for 8 years and I promise you, it was only because of my belief in the rule of law, that I was able to accept the Bush approach to integrating religious view into our government, where he manipulated science in favor of religion and politics in many areas, including this one.Now, those who agree with Bush’s religion-based approach to governing ALL the people, even though there are many, and probably a majority, that do not agree with his approach, are going to have to accept that we have a different President who does not share the same point of view.My approach is more spiritual and less religious, as my spirituality has no rituals and no reference books to guide me, because MY supreme being has explained to me they are not necessary.It’s also worth mentioning that MY supreme being is able to handle this type of issue on his/her own, and doesn’t need my help to make sure that others follow the path that I think is the correct one.I had to deal with Bush for 8 years, so now those who agreed with Bush on this topic, will have to deal with Obama’s point of view for at least the next 4 years.If you don’t like it, elect those that agree with you and change it permanently, but you don’t have the votes now and you almost certainly never will have.Your religion would serve you better if it could help you find comfort with that reality, instead of attempting to force your beliefs on those that don’t agree with you……You will not convince me until your arguments make sense and are not based on faith in some higher power that you can’t produce and can’t explain…

  • Fate

    jajejijoju wrote: “you still fail to see the issue, it is a human being. I bet you wouldn’t accept these rules if you were talking about a group of 10-year-olds. The day you do treat them equally, you will understand the issue and the problem.”Situation: A fertility clinic is on fire. Inside the building is a tank holding 10,000 frozen embryos. There is also a group of five 10 year olds who were taking a tour.Which do you save first? 10,000 human beings or five human beings?

  • Fate

    MSB wrote: “But the simple “scientific” fact is that once a human egg is fertilized by a human sperm, it becomes a distinctly separate human organism. This is not debatable… science has resolved this issue.”But eggs have potential as do sperm. And now that we can clone so does an arm or leg. This is why the supreme court made a distinction, at 3 months of development. No one is arguing that an embryo is or is not a potential human or human tissue. The question is and always has been when it comes under our laws and when the state has an interest beyond the interest of the mother. The courts chose 3 months. Religion may move that demarcation line, but understand it has nothing to do with law and everything to do with deciphering a clue out of a 2 millenia old book not all Americans adhere to or even read the same way.MSB wrote: “Now, I think it’s perfectly legitimate to have a debate about whether or not certain humans, with or without various cognitive abilities, deserve the same right not to be killed as you and I. But for it to be an honest debate, then you cannot simply deny basic science because it sounds bad.”Science has always been considered when it comes to laws dealing not only with abortion but end of life issues as well. Terri Schaivo could not have been taken off life support had she had congnitive function. That is determined through science, not a mother’s intuition. The 3 month cutoff for elective abortion was base on the development of the fetus at that point. This argument goes back almost 50 years. Don’t ignore that debate or its results. And don’t fail to see the unintended consequences of calling a fertilized egg a human. Eggs fertilize before they even implant in the uterus. What would you do with an ectopic pregnancy if it meant killing a human? What would you do when a woman goes out drinking not knowing she has a two day old human inside her, then miscarries? Should all miscarriages be investigated as the death of a child is today? And consider that women through the ages know how to terminate a pregnancy. You cannot force a woman to carry a child. The only question is whether you are going to require a woman who decides to terminate a pregnancy to do it safely or not.

  • magpie

    “[Embryos for research] should only come from excess embryos produced at fertility clinics that are scheduled to be destroyed anyway.”Uh-huh.It’s all well and good for the Catholic church (and other religious groups) to decry the use of embryos in scientific research or, as Thomas Reese does, give guidelines for reducing, then eliminating, such use. But I have yet to hear any high-profile Catholic come out against the kind of fertility treatments that create all of these excess embryos.We keep hearing that it’s immoral to use embryos for research purposes because “embryos are human beings” and “human life is sacred in all its forms.”Is it not also immoral to create and freeze embryos that are never going to be implanted in a uterus? Couples who have multiple embryos frozen for possible later use (we might want another child some day!) — and the doctors who participate in creating these frozen banks of potential human life — must also be immoral because they’re creating life and then leaving it to die, right?If the Catholic church is so opposed to the use of embryonic stem cells, then maybe it should go on record as opposing the freezing of embryos for later use, since that practice predestines tens of thousands of potential human babies to death and obscurity, where they become just so much trash to be disposed of.But, of course, the Catholic church won’t ever take a stand against production and freezing of excess embryos because it’s so much more important to keep the faithful reproducing — making as many kids as is humanly (or, nowadays, inhumanly) possible for as long as possible. The Pope doesn’t want couples to stop storing these bits of pre-human life; he just wants to pretend that every one of those little tykes-to-be will find a uterus to give it a home so that he doesn’t have to acknowledge that leaving unused embryos to die is no different than aborting them.The hypocrisy is staggering.

  • MSB

    >> Situation: A fertility clinic is on fire. Inside the building is a tank holding 10,000 frozen embryos. There is also a group of five 10 year olds who were taking a tour.>> Which do you save first? 10,000 human beings or five human beings?This is a false analogy. Let me try it this way:Situation: A school is on fire. Inside the building are 5 human teachers and 50 human students. Which do you save first?If you choose the children, then you have chosen to value the students more than the teachers, which is fine. But that isn’t evidence that the teachers aren’t humans. And it certainly isn’t enough evidence to allow the intentional destruction of teachers for scientific experiments.

  • Bruce

    These proposals make some sense. The problem we have right now is that our political process is entirely consumed by power. Obama’s answer to changes he wants is that he spoke about them in his campaign. Its a breathtaking arrogance to assume that the slightly over half that voted for him agreed with all his policies. A little more humility would give these proposals some chance.

  • Bruce

    To Magpie,

  • MSB

    >> But eggs have potential as do sperm. And now that we can clone so does an arm or leg.I mentioned nothing about “potential”. A human embryo *is* a human being, not a potential human being. That’s science, not religion, not law, but basic, 4th grade science.>> This is why the supreme court made a distinction, at 3 months of development. Religion may move that demarcation line, but understand it has nothing to do with law and everything to do with deciphering a clue out of a 2 millenia old book not all Americans adhere to or even read the same way.I thought we were talking about science? You seem to want to make this a fight between religion and law… ignoring science all together.And the supreme court has never issued such a distinction. If you are referring to Roe v. Wade, then you better reread the decision.>> This argument goes back almost 50 years. Don’t ignore that debate or its results.So does that mean all supreme court decisions are final? I don’t believe you meant that, did you?>> You cannot force a woman to carry a child. The only question is whether you are going to require a woman who decides to terminate a pregnancy to do it safely or not.And I thought this was about embryonic stem cell research?

  • Fate

    MSB wrote: “This is a false analogy. Let me try it this way: Situation: A school is on fire. Inside the building are 5 human teachers and 50 human students. Which do you save first? If you choose the children, then you have chosen to value the students more than the teachers, which is fine. But that isn’t evidence that the teachers aren’t humans. And it certainly isn’t enough evidence to allow the intentional destruction of teachers for scientific experiments.”But if the firemen pushed the tank of 10,000 embryos out of the way to get to the children, which I hope they would, that would be very different from pushing a teacher out of the way to get to a child. You could also think about whether the firemen consider those 10,000 humans worth risking their lives over to save. The analogy is fine, as is the analogy of whether people value weeks old fetuses that are aborted as much as embryos tossed in the trash. We hear nary a peep about the later yet they are the easiest to save. The church could simply purchase the embryos or accept them for implantation in infertile couples. Yet that is not happening.Your definitions equate fetuses and embryos, yet we only hear an outcry against one being aborted, fetuses. Why? I feel it is because throwing a 3-cell embryo in the trash by a doctor does not bring up the same images as a fetus being aborted. Yet the result is the same if you feel both are human. So it seems that even those who are against abortion do not consider 3 day embryos to be humans worth saving as much as a fetus. This points to that line of demarcation, where human life begins. If it truly was at fertilization we would see a lot more being done by anti-abortion groups with fertility clinics. But all the effort is at abortion clinics.

  • ChuckB

    It is too bad that this much concern isn’t shown for birthed humans. Maybe we would be a little more hesitant to send young men off to die in wars to corner the market on natural resources if we really were pro-life. Perhaps we would be less hesitant to engage our forces to save hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, from genocidal civil wars such as occur all too often in Africa. Strange that so much controversy can be stirred up over the fate of “humans” consisting of a few hundred cells or less when basic health care is lacking for all fully developed and birthed humans. If conservatives would only show as much compassion for the living as they do for nascent life, great strides could be made towards eradication of hunger, poverty, homelessness and the other great ills affecting society. It verges on the obscene for those who claim to be pro-life to oppose legislation to improve the quality of life and control population growth when so many lack basic health care and housing. A blind eye is turned toward the living who are suffering unto death while obtuse, heated arguments are made to preserve unconscious, barely sentient life whose sacrifice could lead to medical breakthroughs that would alleviate the suffering of thousands of unarguably human lives; this stance is taken by those who have no compunction in sending off young adults to be sacrificed for God and country. It is continually argued that the benefits of embryonic stem cell research are only hypothetical, but the anticipated benefits are no more hypothetical than the argument that embryos have equity with the birthed. Certainly the sacrifice of beginning life for a chance of ushering pernicious afflictions from existence or, at the least, mitigating their ravages is worth as much as the sacrifice of adults, many of whom are parents, in dubious foreign adventures with often less than honorable goals.

  • MSB

    >> Your definitions equate fetuses and embryos, yet we only hear an outcry against one being aborted, fetuses. Why? I feel it is because throwing a 3-cell embryo in the trash by a doctor does not bring up the same images as a fetus being aborted. Yet the result is the same if you feel both are human.Quite true… now you are getting it.>> If it truly was at fertilization we would see a lot more being done by anti-abortion groups with fertility clinics. But all the effort is at abortion clinics.Let’s assume that these people feel exactly the same way about embryos as they do for fetuses. Are you saying that unless they focus their efforts equally on ending artificial insemination as they do on ending abortion, then they shouldn’t be allowed to protest either?Actually, I think it only makes sense that they focus their efforts on ending a practice that has some chance, politically, rather than one that doesn’t. Otherwise, they are wasting their resources.

  • Fate

    MSB wrote: “Let’s assume that these people feel exactly the same way about embryos as they do for fetuses. Are you saying that unless they focus their efforts equally on ending artificial insemination as they do on ending abortion, then they shouldn’t be allowed to protest either?”No, I’m saying that groups focus exclusively on ending abortion and not ending the trashing of human embryos at fertility clinics. If a frozen embryo is as human as a fetus, both practices would be protested, but trashing embryos is not protested, meaning, in my mind, that people do not equate embryos and fetuses. MSB wrote: “Actually, I think it only makes sense that they focus their efforts on ending a practice that has some chance, politically, rather than one that doesn’t. Otherwise, they are wasting their resources.”I agree. That is why I wonder why they spend millions on lobbying and protest rallies when they could use that money and effort to purchase or provide a place for doomed embryos to be donated for implantation. As a father of a test-tube baby I know the value of donating embryos. Yet we see zero, nada, nothing being done to save embryos even though saving them is more likely than changing abortion laws through the courts or convincing women to not have abortions at clinics via protesting. So I agree with you that the effort should be to put resources where they would be most effective, but I see the opposite being done, leading me to conclude an embryo does not equal a fetus for most of the “pro-life” groups, except on paper maybe, but certainly not in practice.

  • Jack

    The Pope came out against in Vitro – is that high enough?

  • Carol G. Gee

    As a mother of four I have learned that life is precious. I made the mistake of having two abortions. A mistake I will always regret. I will never know what my children would have grown up to be. I cherish my four children and I have a priceless grand daughter and one on the way and who knows what the future holds. You would be surprised to see what your future holds when you place your faith in Jesus. Many changes come when you pray. And he will always let you know that you are Forgiven.

  • Anonymous

    While I agree with your suggestions, as a non-Catholic I say the critical issue is GOVERNMENT funding. Private research has always been allowed. Just as Government should not fund abortions, Government should not fund research that private industry can fund and profit from.

  • spideman2

    Since Obama has approved embryonic stem cells research already, I suggest that those who will pursue it test it among themselves (including Obama) and not make those poor sick clueless people as their guinea pigs.Embryonic stem cells won’t work because it holds another DNA blueprint different from the person to be implanted to.No person can survive having two different sets of DNA in his body. It would be akin to injecting cancer cells to the patients.To the relatives of the patients who will undergo embryonic stem cell implant, look for a good lawyer and sue these people for tricking you.

  • spiderman2

    They say that it will take years to see the effect or promise of embryonic stem cells. They’ve been saying that for years already and nothing came out from it. They are just saying that so that the FUNDS keep on coming.It does not take years to see how stem cells cure a body. It will only take years because these “researchers” are crooks and are just fleecing the clueless. Obama stated that the funding will continue for years. Many many years of fleecing.

  • stem cell biologist

    SPIDERMAN2 SAYS: “It does not take years to see how stem cells cure a body. It will only take years because these “researchers” are crooks and are just fleecing the clueless.”"No person can survive having two different sets of DNA in his body. It would be akin to injecting cancer cells to the patients.”I am sorry but those are two of the most ignorant, uneducated, and completely false statements I have ever come across. They would almost be funny if not for how misleading they are. It takes ten years and $1 billion just for a prescription drug to get through FDA approval and you think a stem cell treatment recreating directed human development in a dish can be done in a few years. I am sorry but that is silly. The second statement is even more glaringly false. Anyone who has had a bone marrow transplant is walking around with two sets of DNA (chimera). The majority of their body contains their own DNA, while their entire blood and immune system carries the DNA of the bone marrow donor. So there are literally tens of thousands of people walking around with two sets of DNA. Have you ever heard of skin grafting? Again, the recipients have two sets of DNA. There is also the case of tetragametic chimerism which results from the fusion of two separate zygotes. Please, educate yourself before you try to educate others.

  • spiderman2

    stemcellbiologist wrote “you think a stem cell treatment recreating directed human development in a dish can be done in a few years.”Adult stem cell implants are now very common because it didn’t took many years to cure the patients. What made embryonic stem cell different? It’s different because it has no promise. The promise is in the FUNDING. They are aiming for the money and not the cure. I suggest that those patients who are about to undergo embryonic stem cell implant to find good lawyers. Aim for the “funding” too. You should get the bigger slice of the pie. That is if you will survive the tumor growth.

  • spiderman2

    stem cell biologist wrote ” Have you ever heard of skin grafting?”Yes and the last time I heard, they take the “donor skin” from the same patient otherwise the patient’s body will reject it.

  • spiderman2

    with bone marrow transplants, they get it from the stem cells of the patient himself or his very close relatives which matches closely with his stem cells.

  • stem cell biologist

    spiderman2:”with bone marrow transplants, they get it from the stem cells of the patient himself or his very close relatives which matches closely with his stem cells.”The goal during a bone marrow transplant is to find a closely matched donor or use the persons own marrow, but there are plenty of times where unmatched marrow is used. Plus, closely matched donor marrow does not confer the beneficial graft-versus-tumor effects needed to cure hematological malignancies. And if you are using marrow transplant to treat a genetic disease (X-SCID, MPS1, ADA, MLD, FA, EB, etc etc etc)it doesn’t do much good to use your own marrow now does it.

  • Fate

    spideman2 wrote: “No person can survive having two different sets of DNA in his body. It would be akin to injecting cancer cells to the patients.”But many people are walking around today with bone a marrow transplant, which is bone marrow from a donor, so their blood has different DNA. Same for kidney transplants, heart/lung transplants, liver transplants, cornea transplants, skin grafts, etc, etc,etc.spideman2 wrote: “To the relatives of the patients who will undergo embryonic stem cell implant, look for a good lawyer and sue these people for tricking you.”If you need legal advice for an implant gone bad you have a problem. Ask spidey for legal advice and you now have two problems. You see, spidey puts his full faith and trust in the medical establishment when it comes to curing disease, treating conditions like diabetes, performing open heart surgery or building prosthetic devices. But when it comes to a cure that might go against his religious beliefs, he believes these same fine doctors are trying to trick you. He won’t tell you though that he believes doctors are actually out trying to trick you.

  • Stephen B. Wise

    As a Catholic priest you don’t seem to understand and embrace the correctness of the Church’s position on IVF. That’s too bad, because in dialoguing as you are, you do damage to the Church as well as to American society.One reason the United States is disintegrating is because many American Catholics capitulated to “individualism” in a big way starting in the 60′s, by rejecting Pope Paul VI’s teachings on the Viet Nam war as well as on birth control. That “non-servium” continues today stronger than ever.If the American Catholic Church was more authentically Catholic, it would be a better source of salt and light for American society, and America’s future would be brighter.

  • spiderman2

    stem cell biologist: wrote “Not all the time. It’s called immunosuppression, look it up.”When the immunosuppression lose its effectivity, then what happens? More immnosuppresion or tumor? Take your pick. The point is, our body will constantly reject what is not its own. There will be some defects sooner or later. It may take “years” as what you’ve said earlier.

  • spiderman2

    Catholicsim is a false religion and I hope it doesn’t join in any scientific topics. It only messes up the subject.If you are looking for an ignorant person, you don’t have to look far. Just listen to the Pope.

  • kjohnson

    “It is too bad that this much concern isn’t shown for birthed humans. Maybe we would be a little more hesitant to send young men off to die in wars to corner the market on natural resources if we really were pro-life. Perhaps we would be less hesitant to engage our forces to save hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, from genocidal civil wars such as occur all too often in Africa. Strange that so much controversy can be stirred up over the fate of “humans” consisting of a few hundred cells or less when basic health care is lacking for all fully developed and birthed humans. If conservatives would only show as much compassion for the living as they do for nascent life, great strides could be made towards eradication of hunger, poverty, homelessness and the other great ills affecting society.”ChuckB –You’ve said it all right here. No more words are necessary, but your words bear repeating.Thank you for raising your wise voice above the babbling crowd.

  • spiderman2

    fate, you are an ignorant person who gets her facts from dreams. I don’t want to debate with you.

  • spiderman2

    Some people don’t realize what “military defence” means. Just ask Hitler and many historical figures who use weapons to sow terror.If not for American defense, the world would not know what is freedom.

  • stem cell biologist

    Spiderman2:”I hope it doesn’t join in any scientific topics. It only messes up the subject”The misinformation you are spreading messes up the subject as well. “When the immunosuppression lose its effectivity, then what happens? More immnosuppresion or tumor? Take your pick. The point is, our body will constantly reject what is not its own. There will be some defects sooner or later. It may take “years” as what you’ve said earlier”Years? What is reasonable to you? Weeks, months? Do you have any idea of the complexity involved with this. Obviously not. Tissue transplants do not create tumors per se, if immunosuppression is ceased then the graft may be lost due to rejection unless the body has acquired tolerance as can happen with bone marrow transplant. Thousands of people take daily medication for many diseases, it is not hard to take immunosuppressants.We need to keep studying ES cells so that we can learn to use iPS cells. Once this is realized the issue is moot. You will be able to take your OWN skin, turn it into essentially an embryonic stem cell copy of yourself, and then create whatever cell type/tissue/organ you wish and replace it. Or if you have a genetic disease, correct the defect, and then replace. But the fact is that we are not there yet and in order to get there we need to have a thorough understanding of ES cell biology.

  • spiderman2

    There is GOOD medicine practice and there is BAD practice. If we insist on fighting against nature like by injecting what is sure to be a mismatch like an ES cell implant, something is wrong with our science. The problem with ES cells is and will always be REJECTION. How many times do we need to experiment to understand that?Patients should be made aware of this so they don’t be like clueless guinea pigs.

  • stem cell biologist

    If the ES cell line the injected cells were derived from is a very close HLA match then there is a small risk of rejection. iPS cells will be an exact genetic match and pose no risk for immune rejection. Thousands of people are walking around with transplanted organs and they are for the most part just fine. In most cases the alternative is death so take your pick. Patients are very much informed of the risks involved with any treatment especially in this day and age of frivolous malpractice lawsuits.

  • spiderman2

    stem cell biologist wrote “If the ES cell line the injected cells were derived from is a very close HLA match then there is a small risk of rejection.”"very close HLA match ” here means a perfect match. A genetic mismatch as small as a single DNA base pair is significant so PERFECT matches require knowledge of the exact DNA sequence of these genes for both donor and recipient. Leading transplant centers currently perform testing for all five of these HLA genes before declaring that a donor and recipient are HLA-identical.This CRITERIA cannot be achieved using ES cells. Perfect matches can only be achieved using the patient’s own stem cell or his very close relatives’. That is not covered by ES cells. All these talk about ES cell transplant are just fantasy talk. It’s very clear that they are just aiming for the FUNDING.Patients who will sue these doctors have a very good chance of earning millions of dollars so go for it.

  • stem cell biologist

    “centers currently perform testing for all five of these HLA genes before declaring that a donor and recipient are HLA-identical.”You would only find identical HLAs in identical twins so again you don’t know what you are talking about. Quit glossing over the potential of iPS cells as they would be identical match.”This CRITERIA cannot be achieved using ES cells. Perfect matches can only be achieved using the patient’s own stem cell or his very close relatives”Close relatives are not HLA matched, get the facts straight. Quit pulling crap off wikipedia to sound intelligent. ESC/iPS cell studies will soon impact medicine whether you want to believe it or not. Doesn’t matter if you don’t believe it, that is why you are neither a visionary or a scientist. Move on, this is not your area of expertise.

  • stem cell biologist

    And there are 6 HLA genes not five.

  • stem cell biologist

    There are 6 HLA genes, not five. HLAs can be found in siblings, but not other close relatives, and this only happens about 20% of cases.

  • Fate

    spiderman2 gave up: “fate, you are an ignorant person who gets her facts from dreams. I don’t want to debate with you.”Well, at least you understand that they are facts. And a debate is the arguing of facts between two viable positions. Your positions are not viable and are not based on facts. Your “knowledge” of HLA, tissue typing and transplants is so way off it is obvious you have no idea what you are talking about. And this is a field I’ve worked in for 5 years so I have a clue as to just how far off you are. Just where is your expertise derived from? Guessing?So don’t expect me to stop challenging your fantasies. You don’t have to debate me when I point out your errors, its your choice, but expect to be challenged when you make obsurd claims.

  • spiderman2

    The proof of the pudding is always in the eating. Embryonic stem cell has been with us for years already and it’s not even banned in any country including America. So far it has not demonstrated a single cure. Not in South Korea, Japan, Europe, etc . NOWHERE.Why? Because it’s NOT science. To patients who will be subjected to ES cell implants, just beware guys. Look for good lawyers. You will need it to collect some BIG money.These guys are dreaming. Just as they were dreaming when they say that their great great granpa is a baboon. NOT TRUE.All sciences follow the same basic principles and at a glance embryonic stem cell implants are scientific “law breakers”.Every person has a unique DNA. It is his “operating system”. You add a different OS over an existing one and it will go haywire. Biologists don’t undertand this. Their usual solution is immuno-suprression. BAD SCIENCE.Believe me, it’s NOT going to work.I repeat. It’s been with us for years and NO single cure was demonstrated. Simply because it is NOT NOT NOT science.

  • Stem cell biologist

    Spiderman2: Maybe you could tell us your background in the sciences seeing as you know so much about it. I am a Ph.D candidate in molecular and cellular biology. I don’t think you have a clue what real science entails. You surely don’t post educated comments. “So far it has not demonstrated a single cure. Not in South Korea, Japan, Europe, etc . NOWHERE.” ES cells have been around for 10 years. It takes ten years just for a prescription drug to make it to market so I don’t see why you expect ES cell treatments to happen so fast. Hundreds of animal studies have demonstrated that ES cell therapies show enormous potential, but I’m sure you haven’t read about any of these. Yet, you come out and spew a bunch of uneducated BS like you are an expert. “Why? Because it’s NOT science” How is this not science? Not all science directly creates therapies. ES cells are an excellent developmental model for studying basic biology, which again you would know nothing about because you are clueless about science. If ES cells have no use can you tell me how the function of most mammalian genes has been discovered? “Every person has a unique DNA. It is his “operating system”. You add a different OS over an existing one and it will go haywire. Biologists don’t undertand this. Their usual solution is immuno-suprression. BAD SCIENCE.”All you do is keep reposting the same lame ideas..ES cures didn’t happen overnight so they are impossible, ES cell research is not science (that is hilarious and sad at the same time, and that researchers just want to hoard funding from which they generally receive little personal compensation. Please, educate yourself in the sciences so you prevent yourself from further embarrassment.

  • Rey

    I believe the financial situation is also an added argument or criteria to limit embrionic stem cell research. If ESC research it is not going to produce any cure, or it is very lunlikely that it does, why invest money- our tax dollars!- into it? I think it can also fall into those ideological “pet projects” that can be criticized at this moment of economic crisis. It may stumulate some job creation, but it wouldn’t be fair to pay for unproductive work, since ESC research hasn’t come up with any cure! Besides the known ethical problems with ESC research, it would be a sad waste of money in our current economic crisis on one hand, and with a better health-medical-science investment option (ie Adult Stem Cell research) that has already given results and has proved- and is proving- to be productive. ASC is where we should put- and should be putting- our hard-earned tax dollars on, especially now in the middle of our econimic crisis. ASC research, like any productive investment, can prove to create far more jobs than ESC research would, because they have results that can already be marketed, etc. Making their results more widely used in hospitals with more doctors trained in the use of these and more patients able to benefit from these advance in medical treatment. All this process stimulates the health industry from within and I think it would repercute in various other ways into society. And I’ll let the experts speculate about this with more detail.

  • stem cell biologist

    REY:I’m sorry, but the benefit of ES cell research cannot be measured simply by treatments directly using ES cells. Developing cures relies on a fundamental understanding of basic biology. ES cells are one of the best tools we have for studying human development. For instance, scientists can “knock-out” a gene in an ESC and then differentiate it into mature cells allowing study of said gene’s function. This is how transgenic mice are made (this discovery won a nobel prize by the way)Nearly all statistics involving adult stem cell treatments come from one adult stem cell, the hematopoietic stem cell and thus these statistics are misleading. The HSC has been under investigation for the last 50 years. As for the economic climate.. I think corporate greed, unjust wars, and an unhealthy, uneducated overindulgent population have had a larger impact than ES cell research.

  • spiderman2

    10 Paralyzed Patients to Get Stem Cells in SpineJan. 23, 2009 — Geron Corp. will test its OPC1 cells in 10 patients completely paralyzed by recent spinal cord injuries. It’s the first FDA-approved study of an embryonic stem cell product in human patients.******Research is good but I think what they plan to do with those 10 paralized patients just to “prove” that ES cells have a future is unconsciounable. They are sacrificing those people for the sake of FUNDING.As I’ve said, ES cells has NO promising cure. Those 10 patients, if they will truly be injected with ES cells are in for a very BAD ride.I hope they will have a monthly report on those patients to show the stupidity of these doctors.

  • spiderman2

    The concept of immunization is to strengthen our immune system by introducing weak bacteria. Immuno suppression reverses this idea. It is BAD SCIENCE. What these people are actually testing with Embryonic stem cell is how their IMMMUNO-SUPRESSION DRUGS work.Business as usual. It’s all for the money.

  • stem cell biologist

    Spiderman2:I’m not sure what is more sad, your lack of knowledge on anything you are talking about, or the fact that I am still on here debating with someone like you. And once again you fail as usual. Allow me to educate you.1)Geron is a private company and thus is NOT FUNDED BY THE GOVERNMENT.2)They are trying to help people walk again, not prove anything. Science does not aim to “prove” anything, it aims to test the current hypothesis. 3) They are not injecting ES cells, they are injecting oligodendrocyte progenitors derived from ES cells. The CNS is an immune privileged location and so the risk of rejection is low. 4) The worst thing that could happen is a benign tumor of the spine which can easily be removed. Not such a big risk as these patient’s spinal cords are severed anyway. The risk of this is tiny as these cells have been pre-differentiated meaning their capability to produce tumors is extremely low.So why exactly shouldn’t these people have a shot at walking again?

  • stem cell biologist

    Spiderman2:If you needed a transplant which of these would you chose?Immunosuppression or death?If you are so smart please provide an alternative strategy for treating someone with vital organ failure.

  • spiderman2

    stem cell biologist wrote “The worst thing that could happen is a benign tumor of the spine which can easily be removed. Not such a big risk as these patient’s spinal cords are severed anyway. The risk of this is tiny as these cells have been pre-differentiated meaning their capability to produce tumors is extremely low.”Very easy to say than done. Let’s just wait for the result of the experiment.The reason why we need immuno-suppression drugs for transplant is because the transplant concept itself is NOT ideal. It’s just a stop-gap measure.iPS cells are the future of transplant and not ES cells. That is where the funding should be spent. Anything taken from an ES cell is technically an ES cell transplant. The exact word here is MISMATCH. Anything derived from an ES cell of another person is a TOTAL MISMATCH if administered to another person. Why biologists continue to work around that mismatch is not science to me.

  • spiderman2

    Below is the kind of science I want to see and not the kind of science you’re preaching.****Virus-free Embryonic-like Stem Cells Made From Skin Of Parkinson’s Disease PatientsScienceDaily (Mar. 8, 2009) — Whitehead Institute researchers have developed a novel method to remove potential cancer-causing genes during the reprogramming of skin cells from Parkinson’s disease patients into an embryonic-stem-cell-like state. Scientists then used the resulting induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells to derive dopamine-producing neurons, the cell type that degenerates

  • Tom

    These seem like some reasonable suggestions. As a supporter of stem cell research, I like the spirit in which this is written.

  • ALFERT E. NEWMAN

    MOST CATHOLICS ARE NOT BAPTIZED BY THEIR CHOICE AND DO NOT KNOW ALL THE CHURCH TEACHINGS OR AGREE WITH ALL THE ONES THEY DO KNOW. THE CHURCH LEADERSHIP FROM 400A.D. TO DATE WHAT CONTROL OF IT’S MEMBERSHIP BY WAY OF GULIT OF MAN MADE RULES. QUESTIONS BY MEMBERS ARE REALLY NOT ANCERED. NO WONDER WHY SO MANY ARE VOTEING WITH THEIR FEET IN USA AND EUROPE. JUST A FEW DAYS AGO IN SOUTH AMERICA, A CARDINAL EXCOMUNCATED A MOTHER OF A NINE YEAR OLD GIRL FOR HAVEING HER DAGHTER ABORTED ACCOUNT OF HER STEP FATHER’S CRIME. SO NOW A STEM CELL IS A HUMAN LIFE. WHEN IS IT BAPTIZED? IF IT DIES, IS THERE A FUNERAL MASS? IS IT BURIED IN A CATHOLIC CEMTARY? HEY,I GOT IT, DON’T GIVE COMMUNION TO OBAMA. IT GOT BUSH IN THE SECOND TIME THANKS TO THE POPE IN HIS FOMER JOB MEMMO TO WASHINGTON CARDINAL.

  • stem cell biologist

    Spiderman2: I addressed this exact point several times in my previous posts which makes it obvious that you don’t even read them…”iPS cells are the future of transplant and not ES cells. That is where the funding should be spent.”iPS cells were discovered three years ago. we are still characterizing them, but yes hopefully they will replace ES cells. My lab is already working with them. Here is my question to you. How do you think scientists learned to make iPS cells? How do you think they knew to use the genes Oct4, Sox2, Nanog, and c-myc? How do you think they knew how to characterize the iPS cells that were formed? How do you think they already know how to differentiate them into mature cell types?BY STUDYING EMBRYONIC STEM CELLS!!!!!!!!!!!!! Embryonic stem cells are the gold standard. If we quit studying them now we will never fully realize iPS technology. Someday maybe ESCs will be replaced, but to stop studying them now would be foolish. “Anything derived from an ES cell of another person is a TOTAL MISMATCH if administered to another person.Why biologists continue to work around that mismatch is not science to me.”BECAUSE UP UNTIL NOW THERE HASN’T BEEN A REASONABLE ALTERNATIVE. Gene therapy is progressing, that doesn’t work around it. iPS work is going full steam, but it takes months and months and large amounts of resources to create them. Can you imagine doing this for every patient? HA! You think health care is expensive now! In time yes, iPS cells most likely are the future, but they are no where close to ready for the clinic yet. I urge you to critically evaluate the literature in this field. Educate yourself on the topic and then try to form logical arguments.

  • spiderman2

    stem cell biologist: “BY STUDYING EMBRYONIC STEM CELLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!”I don’t think we could have gone this far in adult stem cell advancement if the main focus was on embryonic stem cells.I think the advancement was made mainly because of the restrictions imposed on embryonic stem cell funding.The funding was focused on adult stem cell technology so now we are seeing its wonderful results.

  • stem cell biologist

    spiderman2:”I don’t think we could have gone this far in adult stem cell advancement if the main focus was on embryonic stem cells”iPS cells are not adult stem cells, they are REPROGRAMMED adult cells that are almost exactly like ES cells. If we did not know that Oct4, Sox2, and Nanog were highly expressed in embryonic stem cells we would not have thought to use them to make iPS. YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT. “I think the advancement was made mainly because of the restrictions imposed on embryonic stem cell funding”Shinya Yamanaka (the guy who made iPS) is in Japan where there the ban did not affect his work. AGAIN, YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YO ARE TALKING ABOUT.”The funding was focused on adult stem cell technology so now we are seeing its wonderful results.”Please tell me what these results are?

  • spiderman2

    stem cell biologist “iPS cells are not adult stem cells, they are REPROGRAMMED adult cells”I know that and the fact is it came from ADULT cells. You should learn this. The future is in iPS cells so please REPROGRAM your thoughts that trying to find cures from embryonic stem cell is a futile act.Those 10 patients would never be cured unless the focus shifts to iPS cells and NOT embryonic stem cells coming from.. who knows where it came from.

  • stem cell biologist

    spiderman2: “iPS cells are not adult stem cells, they are REPROGRAMMED adult cells”Are you serious? Do you know what iPS cells really even are? Have you made them? I have. We would not have iPS if it weren’t for the research done on ES cells. We won’t realize the potential of iPS if we quit studying ES cells right now. Most researchers are shifting to iPS as we speak and soon hopefully we will use them exclusively so we can avoid this sort of uneducated religious persecution.

  • Marilyn Ramon-Fortune

    Fertility clinics destruction of life goes against the will of the Almighty. Anyone who destroys the embryo for whatever purspose is totally wrong.

  • Anonymous

    Over thirty percent of conceptions never make it to term, so does that make the Almighty the biggest abortionist?

  • Pamela Lange

    With all respect, I do not believe that these rules will be followed closely. So far…to my knowledge, there is not research that embryotic cells will work any better than adult cells or cells from the umbilical cord.I am very personally scared at the speed with change is occuring in our country. I feel like the President is afraid he HAS to do everything NOW…. because the truth about the plans will change the public’s will to support them.

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