While the nation scrambles to take sides in the debate of embryonic stem cell research, President Bush pushed through the embryonic stem cell executive order in August 2001. This order restricted federal research grants to approximately 78 existing human embryonic stem cell lines currently in existence and prohibited federal funding of any new lines. In effect, the president said, “no” to the continued funding of the destruction of new human embryos. Recently, the House drew a line in the sand by passing the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005 on a bipartisan vote of 238-194.
As this debate grows, it is obvious that not all of the facts are being presented to the American public. Michael Kinsly in his article, “Taking Bush Personally” explains that many of those that support human embryonic stem cell research conveniently ignored two critical truths: first, the human embryo is a human being from the moment of fertilization; and second, adult stem cell research is the only stem cell research with proven clinical applications (Kinsly, 2003). The moral and medical implications of these two truths should be considered if this form of research is to move forward and truly save lives. Cardinal William H. Keeler, author of the article “Killing Embryos Is Not Progress” states, “Such killing in the name of “progress” crosses a fundamental moral line.”
One of the biggest questions is “When does human life begin?” Most human embryologists authoritatively conclude that life starts immediately after fertilization resulting in a new, genetically distinct person. The embryo is not some pre-human cellular blob with no purpose. From the moment of conception, an embryo contains the genetic makeup of a human being.
When an embryo's inner stem cell mass is removed, it is essentially killed. In this writer’s opinion, embryonic stem cell research should be more properly called “embryo sacrificial research” because it is much like Abraham sacrificing his son Isaac in the...