Stem Cell                              Research                              A basic introduction                  - taken...
What Are Stem Cells and why                          are they special?    Stem cells are the raw    material from which al...
They have the potential to replace cell tissue that has been damaged or destroyed by severe illnesses. They can replicate ...
Can we vs. should we    There have been dramatic    advances in modern molecular    genetics - we are capable of    doing ...
Stem cell            type                 Description              Examples                              Each cell can dev...
There are 2 sources of stem cells: Embryonic (also called “pluripotent”) stem cells are capable of developing into all the...
Researchers extract stem cells from a 5-7 days old blastocyst. Stem cells can divide in culture to form more of their own ...
Researchers extract stem cells from a 5-7 days old blastocyst. Stem cells can divide in culture to form more of their own ...
Researchers do we get embryonic stem cells?    Where     extract stem cells from a 5-7 days old blastocyst. Stem cells can...
Stages of EmbryogenesisWednesday 14 September 2011
Stages of Embryogenesis                   Day 1                Fertilized eggWednesday 14 September 2011
Stages of Embryogenesis                                     Day 2                   Day 1         2-cell embryo           ...
Stages of Embryogenesis                                     Day 2                   Day 1         2-cell embryo        Day...
Stages of Embryogenesis                                     Day 2                   Day 1         2-cell embryo        Day...
Stages of Embryogenesis                                         Day 2                   Day 1             2-cell embryo   ...
Where do we get stem                      cell lines?Wednesday 14 September 2011
Where do we get stem                      cell lines?     Day 5-6    BlastocystWednesday 14 September 2011
Where do we get stem                      cell lines?                Outer cells             (forms placenta)     Day 5-6 ...
Where do we get stem                      cell lines?                Outer cells             (forms placenta)             ...
Where do we get stem                      cell lines?                Outer cells           Isolate inner cell mass        ...
Where do we get stem                      cell lines?                Outer cells           Isolate inner cell mass        ...
Where do we get stem                      cell lines?                Outer cells                 Isolate inner cell mass  ...
Where do we get stem                      cell lines?                Outer cells                 Isolate inner cell mass  ...
Tens of thousands of frozen embryos are routinely destroyed when couples finish their treatment. These surplus embryos can ...
Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer  The nucleus of a donated egg is removed and replaced with the nucleus of a mature, "somatic...
Moral and Ethical                     Considerations of Stem Cell                             Research             • Adult...
The Ethical Debate    In favor:    Embryonic stem cell research    (ESCR) fulfills the ethical    obligation to alleviate h...
Against ESCR:    In ESCR, stem cells are taken    from a human blastocyst, which is    then destroyed. This amounts to    ...
The blastocyst used in stem cell research is microscopically small and has no nervous system. Does it count as a “person” ...
When Does Human Life Begin?           Medical Embryology Textbooks                              The Developing Human: Clin...
When Does Human Life Begin?           Medical Embryology Textbooks                              The Developing Human: Clin...
Essentials of Human Embryology                              	 “In this text, we begin our                                 ...
Essentials of Human Embryology                              	 “In this text, we begin our                                 ...
Human Embryology &                               Teratology                              	 “Fertilization is an important ...
Human Embryology &                               Teratology                              	 “Fertilization is an important ...
When Does Human Life Begin?            What Do Medical Doctors Say?                              • Dr. Alfred Bongioanni (...
When Does Human Life Begin?            What Do Medical Doctors Say?                              • Dr. Alfred Bongioanni (...
• Dr. Hymie Gordon (Mayo Clinic):                               	 “By all criteria of modern molecular                    ...
The Embryo Is Not                          a Person                   “Persons . . . are members of a social              ...
Embryo Is Not a Person                       – Rebuttal                              Personality definition problems       ...
Embryo Is Not a Person                       – Rebuttal                              Personality definition problems       ...
• The lack of certain               personality traits would               remove from personhood:             •   Those w...
Definition of Personhood     One who is consciously     performing personal acts     eliminates those who are     sleeping ...
Definition of Personhood     One who is consciously     performing personal acts     eliminates those who are     sleeping ...
One who has a history of       performing personal acts       eliminates one who was in a       coma from birth, but wakes...
Implications of Functionally-             Defined Personhood                              • Newborns lack the ability to   ...
Implications of Functionally-             Defined Personhood                              • Newborns lack the ability to   ...
At Conception, It Is                           Only a Single Cell       Claim:      Fertilized eggs are single cells, like...
Only a Small Percentage                of Embryos Implant           Claim:           Embryos are only potential life. Most...
Frozen Embryos Are                         Going to Be Discarded                                Anyway      • Proponents o...
Devaluation of Human                            Life                              Right now it is only 5-12 day           ...
Christian Arguments                          and Response        • We may not do evil so               that good will resu...
Christian Arguments                          and Response        • We may not do evil so               that good will resu...
Bible: Human Life                              Begins Before Birth              "Did not He who made me in the            ...
When Does Ensoulment                     Occur?           John the Baptist: "For he will be great in the           sight o...
Murder Defined by the                          Bible                  • People are not to be murdered because              ...
Biblical Arguments:                                   Summary                  • The Bible indicates that God recognizes  ...
Morality of Human                      Reproductive Cloning                  • “Be fruitful and multiply” – assumed to be ...
Stem Cell                              Research                   This is a good primer on the subject - taken from       ...
An Overview of Stem Cell Research    In November of 1998, scientists reported that they had    successfully isolated and c...
Among the most vocal opponents of the research are    those who share the desire to heal, but who object to    the pursuit...
1. What are human embryonic stem cells    and how are they obtained?    Human embryonic stem cells are the cells from whic...
2. How are adult stem cells different from    embryonic stem cells?    Adult stem cells (also referred to as “non-embryoni...
3. Is it ethical to obtain stem cells from human    fetuses and umbilical cords?    Fetal stem cell research may ethically...
4. Have scientists been successful in using non-    embryonic stem cells to treat disease?    Yes. In contrast to research...
5. Have scientists been successful in using    embryonic stem cells to treat disease?    Though embryonic stem cells have ...
6. What is the relationship between    embryonic stem cell research and    "therapeutic" cloning?    Another potential obs...
7. Why should we value the human embryo?    Underlying the passages of Scripture that refer to the    unborn (Job 31:15; P...
8. Shouldnt it be ethical to allow the destruction of    a few embryos in order to help the millions of    people who suff...
9. What does the law say and can I have a    voice?    No forms of stem cell research or cloning are    prohibited by fede...
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A Christian perspective on stem cells

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A Christian perspective on stem cells

  1. 1. Stem Cell Research A basic introduction - taken from a number of different sourcesWednesday 14 September 2011
  2. 2. What Are Stem Cells and why are they special? Stem cells are the raw material from which all of the body’s mature, differentiated cells are made. Stem cells give rise to brain cells, nerve cells, heart cells, pancreatic cells, etc.Wednesday 14 September 2011
  3. 3. They have the potential to replace cell tissue that has been damaged or destroyed by severe illnesses. They can replicate themselves over and over for a very long time. It is said that understanding how stem cells develop into healthy and diseased cells will assist the search for cures.Wednesday 14 September 2011
  4. 4. Can we vs. should we There have been dramatic advances in modern molecular genetics - we are capable of doing amazing things. Should we ask the morality questions before attempting the “can we” questions?Wednesday 14 September 2011
  5. 5. Stem cell type Description Examples Each cell can develop Cells from early (1-3 Totipotent into a new individual days) embryos Some cells of Cells can form any Pluripotent blastocyst (5 to 14 (over 200) cell types days) Cells differentiated, but Fetal tissue, cord Multipotent can form a number of blood, and adult stem other tissues cellsWednesday 14 September 2011
  6. 6. There are 2 sources of stem cells: Embryonic (also called “pluripotent”) stem cells are capable of developing into all the cell types of the body. Adult stem cells are less versatile and more difficult to identify, isolate, and purify.Wednesday 14 September 2011
  7. 7. Researchers extract stem cells from a 5-7 days old blastocyst. Stem cells can divide in culture to form more of their own Embryonic stem cells kind, thereby creating a stem cell line. The research aims to induce these cells to generate healthy tissue needed by patients.Wednesday 14 September 2011
  8. 8. Researchers extract stem cells from a 5-7 days old blastocyst. Stem cells can divide in culture to form more of their own kind, thereby creating a stem cell line. The research aims to induce these cells to generate healthy tissue needed by patients.Wednesday 14 September 2011
  9. 9. Researchers do we get embryonic stem cells? Where extract stem cells from a 5-7 days old blastocyst. Stem cells can divide in culture to form more of their own 1. Excess fertilized cell line. IVF (in-vitro kind, thereby creating a stem eggs from fertilization) cells to generate healthy The research aims to induce these clinics tissue needed by patients. (somatic cell nuclear transfer) 2. Therapeutic cloningWednesday 14 September 2011
  10. 10. Stages of EmbryogenesisWednesday 14 September 2011
  11. 11. Stages of Embryogenesis Day 1 Fertilized eggWednesday 14 September 2011
  12. 12. Stages of Embryogenesis Day 2 Day 1 2-cell embryo Fertilized eggWednesday 14 September 2011
  13. 13. Stages of Embryogenesis Day 2 Day 1 2-cell embryo Day 3-4 Fertilized egg Multi-cell embryoWednesday 14 September 2011
  14. 14. Stages of Embryogenesis Day 2 Day 1 2-cell embryo Day 3-4 Fertilized egg Multi-cell embryo Day 5-6 BlastocystWednesday 14 September 2011
  15. 15. Stages of Embryogenesis Day 2 Day 1 2-cell embryo Day 3-4 Fertilized egg Multi-cell embryo Day 5-6 Day 11-14 Blastocyst Tissue DifferentiationWednesday 14 September 2011
  16. 16. Where do we get stem cell lines?Wednesday 14 September 2011
  17. 17. Where do we get stem cell lines? Day 5-6 BlastocystWednesday 14 September 2011
  18. 18. Where do we get stem cell lines? Outer cells (forms placenta) Day 5-6 BlastocystWednesday 14 September 2011
  19. 19. Where do we get stem cell lines? Outer cells (forms placenta) Inner cells (forms fetus) Day 5-6 BlastocystWednesday 14 September 2011
  20. 20. Where do we get stem cell lines? Outer cells Isolate inner cell mass (forms placenta) (destroys embryo) Inner cells (forms fetus) Day 5-6 BlastocystWednesday 14 September 2011
  21. 21. Where do we get stem cell lines? Outer cells Isolate inner cell mass (forms placenta) (destroys embryo) Inner cells (forms fetus) Culture cells Day 5-6 BlastocystWednesday 14 September 2011
  22. 22. Where do we get stem cell lines? Outer cells Isolate inner cell mass (forms placenta) (destroys embryo) Inner cells (forms fetus) Culture cells Day 5-6 Blastocyst “Special sauce” (largely unknown) Liver Kidney Heart muscleWednesday 14 September 2011
  23. 23. Where do we get stem cell lines? Outer cells Isolate inner cell mass (forms placenta) (destroys embryo) Inner cells (forms fetus) Culture cells Day 5-6 Blastocyst “Special sauce” (largely unknown) Liver Heart repaired Kidney Heart muscleWednesday 14 September 2011
  24. 24. Tens of thousands of frozen embryos are routinely destroyed when couples finish their treatment. These surplus embryos can be used to produce stem cells. Regenerative medical research aims to develop these cells into new, healthy tissue to heal severe illnesses.Wednesday 14 September 2011
  25. 25. Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer The nucleus of a donated egg is removed and replaced with the nucleus of a mature, "somatic cell" (e.g. a skin cell). No sperm is involved in this, and no embryo is created to be implanted in a woman’s womb. The resulting stem cells can potentially develop into specialized cells that are useful for treating severe illnesses.Wednesday 14 September 2011
  26. 26. Moral and Ethical Considerations of Stem Cell Research • Adult stem cells • Embryonic stem cells • Embryo must be destroyed • When does human life/personhood begin?Wednesday 14 September 2011
  27. 27. The Ethical Debate In favor: Embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) fulfills the ethical obligation to alleviate human suffering. Since excess IVF embryos will be discarded anyway, isn’t it better that they be used in valuable research? SCNT (Therapeutic Cloning) produces cells in a petri dish, not a pregnancy.Wednesday 14 September 2011
  28. 28. Against ESCR: In ESCR, stem cells are taken from a human blastocyst, which is then destroyed. This amounts to “murder.” There is a risk of commercial exploitation of the human participants in ESCR. Slippery slope argument: ESCR will lead to reproductive cloning.Wednesday 14 September 2011
  29. 29. The blastocyst used in stem cell research is microscopically small and has no nervous system. Does it count as a “person” who has a right to life? When does personhood begin? Does science have a view on this? In a society where citizens hold diverse religious views, how can we democratically make humane public policy?Wednesday 14 September 2011
  30. 30. When Does Human Life Begin? Medical Embryology Textbooks The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology “Zygote: this cell results from the union of an oocyte and a sperm. A zygote is the beginning of a new human being (i.e., an embryo). Human development begins at fertilization… This highly specialized, totipotent cell marks the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.”Wednesday 14 September 2011
  31. 31. When Does Human Life Begin? Medical Embryology Textbooks The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology “Zygote: this cell results from the union of an oocyte and a sperm. A zygote is the beginning of a new human being (i.e., an embryo). Human development begins at fertilization… This highly specialized, totipotent cell marks the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.”Wednesday 14 September 2011
  32. 32. Essentials of Human Embryology “In this text, we begin our description of the developing human with the formation and differentiation of the male and female sex cells or gametes, which will unite at fertilization to initiate the embryonic development of a new individual.”Wednesday 14 September 2011
  33. 33. Essentials of Human Embryology “In this text, we begin our description of the developing human with the formation and differentiation of the male and female sex cells or gametes, which will unite at fertilization to initiate the embryonic development of a new individual.”Wednesday 14 September 2011
  34. 34. Human Embryology & Teratology “Fertilization is an important landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is thereby formed…”Wednesday 14 September 2011
  35. 35. Human Embryology & Teratology “Fertilization is an important landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is thereby formed…”Wednesday 14 September 2011
  36. 36. When Does Human Life Begin? What Do Medical Doctors Say? • Dr. Alfred Bongioanni (University of Pennsylvania): “I have learned from my earliest medical education that human life begins at the time of conception.” • Dr. Jerome LeJeune (University of Descartes): “after fertilization has taken place a new human being has come into being.”Wednesday 14 September 2011
  37. 37. When Does Human Life Begin? What Do Medical Doctors Say? • Dr. Alfred Bongioanni (University of Pennsylvania): “I have learned from my earliest medical education that human life begins at the time of conception.” • Dr. Jerome LeJeune (University of Descartes): “after fertilization has taken place a new human being has come into being.”Wednesday 14 September 2011
  38. 38. • Dr. Hymie Gordon (Mayo Clinic): “By all criteria of modern molecular biology, life is present from the moment of conception.” • Dr. Micheline Matthews-Roth (Harvard University Medical School): “It is scientifically correct to say that an individual human life begins at conception”Wednesday 14 September 2011
  39. 39. The Embryo Is Not a Person “Persons . . . are members of a social community that shapes and values them, and personhood must be defined in terms of interactions and relationships with others.” Susan Sherwin. 1999. Ethical Issues: Perspectives for CanadiansWednesday 14 September 2011
  40. 40. Embryo Is Not a Person – Rebuttal Personality definition problems • Does a human non-person exist? • What traits define personhood? • Who makes the definition? • Society has excluded certain humans from personhood before (e.g., African slaves, Chinese, etc.) Should we make a new list of human non-persons?Wednesday 14 September 2011
  41. 41. Embryo Is Not a Person – Rebuttal Personality definition problems • Does a human non-person exist? • What traits define personhood? • Who makes the definition? • Society has excluded certain humans from personhood before (e.g., African slaves, Chinese, etc.) Should we make a new list of human non-persons?Wednesday 14 September 2011
  42. 42. • The lack of certain personality traits would remove from personhood: • Those who are in a coma • Elderly with degenerative disorders (Alzheimers, etc.) • Mentally deficient •Genetic •Neurological disease •Mental illness • Is is okay to consider these human beings as non-persons?Wednesday 14 September 2011
  43. 43. Definition of Personhood One who is consciously performing personal acts eliminates those who are sleeping One with a present capacity to perform personal acts eliminates those who are in a comaWednesday 14 September 2011
  44. 44. Definition of Personhood One who is consciously performing personal acts eliminates those who are sleeping One with a present capacity to perform personal acts eliminates those who are in a comaWednesday 14 September 2011
  45. 45. One who has a history of performing personal acts eliminates one who was in a coma from birth, but wakes up One with a future capacity for performing personal acts makes those who are dying as non-personsWednesday 14 September 2011
  46. 46. Implications of Functionally- Defined Personhood • Newborns lack the ability to perform personal functions – in fact, newborn humans are less capable physically and mentally than virtually all other mammals • Therefore, on the basis of functionally-defined personhood, newborns fail the test could be killed on the basis of “non- personhood”Wednesday 14 September 2011
  47. 47. Implications of Functionally- Defined Personhood • Newborns lack the ability to perform personal functions – in fact, newborn humans are less capable physically and mentally than virtually all other mammals • Therefore, on the basis of functionally-defined personhood, newborns fail the test could be killed on the basis of “non- personhood”Wednesday 14 September 2011
  48. 48. At Conception, It Is Only a Single Cell Claim: Fertilized eggs are single cells, like blood cells or other parts of the body Rebuttal: This single cell is unique from both the father’s and mother’s cells and is the beginning of every new human beingWednesday 14 September 2011
  49. 49. Only a Small Percentage of Embryos Implant Claim: Embryos are only potential life. Most do not result in births Rebuttal: 33% of implanted embryos die before birth There are countries in which over 25% of children die before age 5. Should we allow killing of children?Wednesday 14 September 2011
  50. 50. Frozen Embryos Are Going to Be Discarded Anyway • Proponents of human embryonic stem cell research say that embryos from IVF are going to be discarded and, so, should be used for research • Prisoners on death row are also going to die, so why not do research on them?Wednesday 14 September 2011
  51. 51. Devaluation of Human Life Right now it is only 5-12 day embryos: When science discovers it is impossible to produce organs/ tissues in the absence of surrounding developmental processes, scientists will demand the tissues be allowed to “mature” prior to harvestWednesday 14 September 2011
  52. 52. Christian Arguments and Response • We may not do evil so that good will result (Romans 3:8) • Humans are created in the image of God before birth • The human soul begins before birthWednesday 14 September 2011
  53. 53. Christian Arguments and Response • We may not do evil so that good will result (Romans 3:8) • Humans are created in the image of God before birth • The human soul begins before birthWednesday 14 September 2011
  54. 54. Bible: Human Life Begins Before Birth "Did not He who made me in the womb make him, And the same one fashion us in the womb? Job 31:15 Psalm 22:9-10 Psalm 139:13-16 Isaiah 44:2, 24Wednesday 14 September 2011
  55. 55. When Does Ensoulment Occur? John the Baptist: "For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and he will drink no wine or liquor; and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, while yet in his mothers womb." (Luke 1:15) Paul: But when He who had set me apart, even from my mothers womb, and called me through His grace… (Galatians 1:15) Jeremiah: "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations." (Jeremiah 1:5)Wednesday 14 September 2011
  56. 56. Murder Defined by the Bible • People are not to be murdered because they are created in the image of God. (Genesis 9:6) • Murder must be intentional, with premeditation (Joshua 20:3) • Killing of embryos is intentional, and premeditatedWednesday 14 September 2011
  57. 57. Biblical Arguments: Summary • The Bible indicates that God recognizes human beings as persons prior to development in the womb • Bible defines murder as being intentional and premeditated • ESC research destroys embryos that are considered as ensouled human beingsWednesday 14 September 2011
  58. 58. Morality of Human Reproductive Cloning • “Be fruitful and multiply” – assumed to be natural, but IVF and cloning not mentioned in the Bible • Problems with cloned animals – most suffer premature aging and other genetic problems. Might be avoidable with better techniques? • Biblical basis to condemn human reproductive cloning?Wednesday 14 September 2011
  59. 59. Stem Cell Research This is a good primer on the subject - taken from the Centre for Bioethics and Human Dignity website http://cbhd.org/stem-cell-research/overviewWednesday 14 September 2011
  60. 60. An Overview of Stem Cell Research In November of 1998, scientists reported that they had successfully isolated and cultured human embryonic stem cells—a feat which had eluded researchers for almost two decades. This announcement kicked off an intense and unrelenting debate between those who approve of embryonic stem cell research and those who are opposed to it. Some of the most prominent advocates of the research are scientists and patients who believe that embryonic stem cell research will lead to the development of treatments and cures for some of humanity’s most pernicious afflictions (such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, and diabetes).Wednesday 14 September 2011
  61. 61. Among the most vocal opponents of the research are those who share the desire to heal, but who object to the pursuit of healing via unethical means. CBHD’s view is that because human embryonic stem cell research necessitates the destruction of human embryos, such research is unethical—regardless of its alleged benefits. Ethical alternatives for achieving those benefits should be actively pursued.Wednesday 14 September 2011
  62. 62. 1. What are human embryonic stem cells and how are they obtained? Human embryonic stem cells are the cells from which all 200+ kinds of tissue in the human body originate. Typically, they are derived from human embryos—often those from fertility clinics who are left over from assisted reproduction attempts (e.g., in vitro fertilization). When stem cells are obtained from living human embryos, the harvesting of such cells necessitates destruction of the embryos.Wednesday 14 September 2011
  63. 63. 2. How are adult stem cells different from embryonic stem cells? Adult stem cells (also referred to as “non-embryonic” stem cells) are present in adults, children, infants, placentas, umbilical cords, and cadavers. Obtaining stem cells from these sources does not result in certain harm to a human being.Wednesday 14 September 2011
  64. 64. 3. Is it ethical to obtain stem cells from human fetuses and umbilical cords? Fetal stem cell research may ethically resemble either adult or embryonic stem cell research and must be evaluated accordingly. If fetal stem cells are obtained from miscarried or stillborn fetuses, or if it is possible to remove them from fetuses still alive in the womb without harming the fetuses, then no harm is done to the donor and such fetal stem cell research is ethical. However, if the abortion of fetuses is the means by which fetal stem cells are obtained, then an unethical means (the killing of human beings) is involved. Since umbilical cords are detached from infants at birth, umbilical cord blood is an ethical source of stem cells.Wednesday 14 September 2011
  65. 65. 4. Have scientists been successful in using non- embryonic stem cells to treat disease? Yes. In contrast to research on embryonic stem cells, non- embryonic stem cell research has already resulted in numerous instances of actual clinical benefit to patients. For example, patients suffering from a whole host of afflictions—including (but not limited to) Parkinson’s disease, autoimmune diseases, stroke, anemia, cancer, immunodeficiency, corneal damage, blood and liver diseases, heart attack, and diabetes—have experienced improved function following administration of therapies derived from adult or umbilical cord blood stem cells. The long-held belief that non-embryonic stem cells are less able to differentiate into multiple cell types or be sustained in the laboratory over an extended period of time—rendering them less medically- promising than embryonic stem cells—has been repeatedly challenged by experimental results that have suggested otherwise.Wednesday 14 September 2011
  66. 66. 5. Have scientists been successful in using embryonic stem cells to treat disease? Though embryonic stem cells have been purported as holding great medical promise, reports of actual clinical success have been few. Instead, scientists conducting research on embryonic stem cells have encountered significant obstacles—including tumor formation, unstable gene expression, and an inability to stimulate the cells to form the desired type of tissue. It may indeed be telling that some biotechnology companies have chosen not to invest financially in embryonic stem cell research and some scientists have elected to focus their research exclusively on non-embryonic stem cell research.Wednesday 14 September 2011
  67. 67. 6. What is the relationship between embryonic stem cell research and "therapeutic" cloning? Another potential obstacle encountered by researchers engaging in embryonic stem cell research is the possibility that embryonic stem cells would not be immunologically compatible with patients and would therefore be “rejected,” much like a non-compatible kidney would be rejected. A proposed solution to this problem is to create an embryonic clone of a patient and subsequently destroy the clone in order to harvest his or her stem cells. Cloning for this purpose has been termed “therapeutic” cloning—despite the fact that the subject of the research —the clone—is not healed but killed.Wednesday 14 September 2011
  68. 68. 7. Why should we value the human embryo? Underlying the passages of Scripture that refer to the unborn (Job 31:15; Ps. 139:13-16; Lk. 1:35-45) is the assumption that they are human beings who are created, known, and uniquely valued by God. Genesis 9:6 warns us against killing our fellow human beings, who are created in the very image of God (Gen. 1:26-27). Furthermore, human embryonic life—as well as all of creation—exists primarily for God’s own pleasure and purpose, not ours (Col. 1:16).Wednesday 14 September 2011
  69. 69. 8. Shouldnt it be ethical to allow the destruction of a few embryos in order to help the millions of people who suffer from diseases such as Parkinsons and heart disease? Many proponents of human embryonic stem cell research argue that it is actually wrong to protect the lives of a few unborn human beings if doing so will delay treatment for a much larger number of people who suffer from fatal or debilitating diseases. However, we are not free to pursue gain (financial, health- related, or otherwise) through immoral or unethical means such as the taking of innocent life (Deut. 27:25). The history of medical experimentation is filled with horrific examples of evil done in the name of science. We must not sacrifice one class of human beings (the embryonic) to benefit another (those suffering from serious illness). Scripture resoundingly rejects the temptation to “do evil that good may result” (Rom. 3:8).Wednesday 14 September 2011
  70. 70. 9. What does the law say and can I have a voice? No forms of stem cell research or cloning are prohibited by federal law, though some states have passed partial bans. Private funds can support any practice that is legal, whereas federal funds cannot be used for research on embryonic stem cell lines unless they meet the guidelines set forth by the National Institutes of Health in July 2009. For the latest developments you can stay informed via the www.bioethics.com and the CBHD-maintained site: www.stemcellresearch.org.Wednesday 14 September 2011

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