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Friday, February 17, 2006

Stem Cell Research and the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures Petition

Too Many Fine Lines

There are several pints that seem to be fading into the background as various groups and leaders draw fine lines between acceptable and unacceptable types of stem cell research.

First, there is clear difference between adult and embryonic stem cell research. The Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures ballot initiative makes no distinction between different types of stem cell research. Thus accepting initiative would forever seal in the Missouri Constitution a shelter for any type of stem cell research regardless of the ethical differences.

Second, SCNT is human cloning; it does not matter whether sperm is involved if the result is human. Dr. James Thompson, the first researcher to cultivate human embryonic cells, states that it is “disingenuous” to define away that SCNT results in a human embryo. The MCLC’s initiative does not help Missourians understand the connection between SCNT and human cloning.

Thirdly, the ability of the scientist to genetically alter embryos to make it impossible for the embryo to implant in a uterus for further development does not make the embryo less human or less alive—just disabled.

Most importantly, the major evidence backing the impetuousness for embryonic stem cell research is speculative. What has been confirmed is the constant tendency for embryonic stem cells to form tumors and to display chromosomal abnormalities. The alleged great advance by South Korean scientist Hwang Woo Suk’s study is fraudulent.

The amalgamation of fine nuances of these complex scientific research techniques and ethical concerns should stir Missourians to do some crucial research of their own before they sign the MCLC’s petition. A constitutional amendment will end a debate that few Missourians thoroughly understand. All sides agree lives are at stake. Don’t’ sign the petition!

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