From the Pastor – March 14, 2009

What’s the Big Deal with Stem Cells???

Last week, President Barack Obama gave a speech wherein he reversed a policy which strictly limited the Federal money that could be spent on research involving embryonic stem cells. As someone who has followed this issue over the last several years, I thought as your pastor, it would be good to briefly explain the science, ethics and morality involved in his decision.

Let’s start with a few facts: (1) AREN’T STEM CELLS JUST STEM CELLS? No. President Obama’s speech is not about “stem cells” per se. There are different types of stem cells. Some stem cells come from living adults, and some stem cells come from destroyed human embryos. There are no ethical arguments against doing research on adult stem cells that are voluntarily donated for research purposes. On the other hand, embryonic stem cells can only come from the destruction of a living human embryo. Since each human embryo has the same potential to become a human being as each of us had at that point in our lives, destroying that embryo destroys the same potential that we had at the same stage of development.

(2) DOLLARS AND SENSE. Notwithstanding the fact that many Americans find the idea of experimenting on human embryos to be morally repugnant, it is currently legal in the US to experiment on human embryos. There’s no law against it. President Obama’s policy change isn’t about the “legality” of that research; it’s about the expansion of the use of our taxpayer dollars to pay for this very controversial research. It’s about paying for things that Catholics consider immoral. We’re talking about human embryos, not lab mice.