Carol Platt Liebau: On Stem Cells

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

On Stem Cells

The stem cell debate is gearing up. The House has already passed a bill that would allocate more federal funds for stem cell research, which requires the destruction of human embryos.

Proponents cite the potential health benefits that could result from the research; the President, however, intends to veto it because "The bill would compel all American taxpayers to pay for research that relies on the intentional destruction of human embryos."

A couple of things are worth pointing out here. First, some proponents of federal funding try to give the impression that research going forward is dependent on federal government funding. That's just not true. There's no law against embryonic stem cell research being conducted by Harvard University, for example, or the state of California, or any number of other entities. So it's not a matter of whether the research can be done; it's a matter of whether it should be done with taxpayer money. (In that respect, it's a little like religious practice -- you can do it, just not with government money.)

Second, before proponents of the research manage to raise expectations sky-high over the potential for stem cell research, it's worth noting that research using "fetal tissue" hasn't yet lived up to the hype of its proponents (indeed, in some cases, it's had an adverse impact).

Third, there are ethical alternatives to destroying human embryos. As this piece points out, federally funded research continues on stem cells taken from umbilical cord blood and from adults' tissues -- and there's a second Senate bill that would fund research on ways to obtain the equivalent of embryonic stem cells without killing human embryos.

Finally, do not doubt that those little human embryos are human life. They are precisely what is implanted in women at fertility clinics after a round of IVF so that they may have a baby. The women are told, immediately after the embryos are implanted, that they are pregnant (either until they deliver, or until the embryo fails to implant and dies). Contrary to what an ill-informed talk show host said on the radio this morning, there's all the difference in the world between an embryo on the one hand and male sperm on the other -- an embryo represents the union of an egg and a sperm that, together, have fertilized to produce the beginning of human life.


Blogger COPioneer said...

Follow the money. Embryonic stem cell research just a fashionable left-wing mantra, much like "global warming", "evolution only", etc. They'll get government grant money, and will probably get more private money as a result if they go with whatever they can convince people is the "silver bullet" to hedonism, health, and a Prius in every garage.

10:32 AM  
Blogger Dittohead said...

Copineer, finally admits Nancy Reagan is a money hungry hedonist who wants a Prius.

10:54 AM  
Blogger The Flomblog said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:38 AM  
Blogger The Flomblog said...

Carol: may I disgree somewhat.

I have two difficulties with this one.

1. I think that this is anothrer example of government getting involved with personal decisions. I know we are debating over whether an emnbryo is a person yet. I think that a better question is the person sentient yet. I am really on the fence here.

2. The old question of Rape, Incest or whether the womans life is in danger. I think in these circumstances - and early in the pregnancy -- The woman has a right to the decision. If G-d Forbid, my daughter was in that situation, I would want her to make the decision. I also think that in the case of Rape or incest the morning after pill should be made available.

I think that the advantage of posting this question in the form of a constitutional ammendment would be a positive step. This wouold force a national discussion on the topic. This was very successfull with the ERA?

A money-hungry hedonist who wants a maserati (lol)

11:38 AM  
Blogger Dittohead said...

To be a little more specfic.

The embryos funded by H.R. 810 were created for the purposes of in vitro fertilization… and are now spare or in excess of clinical need and in every single case are slated for medical waste.

In light of all human being's desire for contribution to mankind and for self actualization, the waste disposal, is the worst and a most disgusting fate.

11:51 AM  
Blogger Cliff said...

In order to take advantage of any "benefit" a human embryo could provide, REQUIRES the taking of that
embryo's LIFE. As a society
we CANNOT condone the taking of a life for the
"benefit" of another. That's MURDER!

1:36 PM  
Blogger Dittohead said...

The Bill passed the Senate. Now it is up to Bush to either use the embryos for the benefit of mankind or to toss the embryos into the waste dump.

3:06 PM  
Blogger Cliff said...

A third option, and by far the best one, would be for
those embryo's to be implanted into a womb and
grow to full term!

4:01 PM  
Blogger Dittohead said...


You got one available?

6:05 PM  
Blogger Marshall Art said...

Yeah, there's plenty available. How many women go through expensive hoops in order to conceive? Most, if not all, of these are highly desirous of experiencing pregnancy and childbirth. A great many would be happy to "adopt" someone else's "unwanted" embryo.

for flomberg,

This is not a case of gov interference. As has been stated, you could do research on embryonic stem cells if you wanted to. Just don't expect me to pay for it with my tax dolllars. It would be interference to force me to pay for it through taxes.

8:27 PM  
Blogger The Flomblog said...


I agree completely! Paying for itmes like these - or publicly funded abortions in ANY way is totally wrong!

7:00 AM  
Blogger Pete said...

I'd like to add my 2 cents worth here:

First penny: Since there has not been one "breakthrough" to cure a desease, or any medical condition that I have heard of, wouldn't the money be better spent researching adult stem cells, where medical breakthroughs HAVE resulted. Seems to me you follow the productive research, rather than the apparent deadend.

Second penny: As a Catholic, I believe the embryo is life, therefore needs to be protected - not used for experimentation. You end life by pulling apart the embryo - therefore it is wrong. It should not be funded by government (read my - and your tax) money.

Okay, since it was brought up, a third penny: I disagree somewhat with Flomblog on this issue - abortion is wrong in all cases. And I likewise pray my daughter never faces the rape situation either! I don't know how I will actually react, other than wanting to shoot the rapist. Still, the unborn child should not pay the price for the sin of the father.

I do happen to believe in choice - choice as to whether to have sex or not. If the choice is yes, there are consequences. Especially if no contraception is used (for you protestants). And all we know that even contraception is not fool-proof, and the "morning after pill" is killing an embryo and, in more cases than the MSM will tell us, the mother dies as well! Not a good 'choice'!

So ends my 3 cents.

7:05 AM  
Blogger JillMartin said...

Here is my three coins in a fountain words of wisdom. Doctors are quacks, sex is for married folks who want children. Rape victims asked for it, so they are evil and need to suffer.

8:17 AM  
Blogger dodger said...

I'm in favor of stem cell research. I'm opposed to casting the issue as the "slippery slope." I believe Republicans were told by the Supreme Court in Roe v Wade to leave right and wrong to the Pope. In my view, letting morality into politics is the slippery slope. Reason: it leads to loss of civil liberties.

8:37 AM  
Blogger Pete said...

Wow, that's harse, Jill.

Doctors who do abortions are murderers - they may also be quacks, but that's beside to point.

I do not believe that rape victims "ask for it" in most cases. And even if they dress too provocitively (sp?), or they are a prostitute, they do not deserve to be violated in that manner. Rape is a crime of violence, and needs to be punished accordingly.

8:42 AM  
Blogger Pete said...

Dodger said:
"In my view, letting morality into politics is the slippery slope."

I am reminded of a quote from Larry McDonald (D-GA) from years ago when he was asked about whether we should legislate morality. He said "All legislation in morality enacted. The question is, whose morality is it?"

That is soooo true, in my opinion. And I think our founders would also agree. Whose morality do you want to see enacted? total license to anything goes, or something that more closely resembles God's Word and protects the innocent?

9:08 AM  
Blogger Cliff said...

Dodger said,"I'm in favor of stem cell research".Do
you mean embryonic stem cells, or adult? The difference is that the embryo is KILLED in order to extract embryonic cells while adult cells are from the spine of a fully developed person, which does not kill that person.
Most, if not all laws are based upon morals and religous convictions. Should we as a civilization
allow the killing of LIVE

9:41 AM  
Blogger Dittohead said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:35 AM  
Blogger JillMartin said...

A swift kick into the groin with a steel tipped boot would stop any rapist. These young girls are just begging for trouble. I've seen them bouncing all over the place with wonder bras, thongs displayed, tight jeans shaping and spreading their buttocks. Just take Kobe Bryant as an example. The little tramp wanted it and bragged about his assets.

Stem cell research is perfectly fine, all of you worthless wankers are wasting the seed in self pleasuring anyway. You and your ancestors have killed millions of people in mindless war. Now that you can help people who are sick and suffering, you get some B.S.. religion that was written is the stone age. You are all hypocrites, liars, and sinners. Pretending your the holiest of holy, the cats meow. You all, make me want to vomit.

10:59 AM  
Blogger Cliff said...

JillMartin said, "Stem cell research is perfectly fine." Again, what type of
stem cells are you talking about? Also, when you said, "wasting the seed,"
you do realize the "seed"
you are referring to CANNOT
grow into human life without that "seed" joing
with an ovum?

11:37 AM  
Blogger JillMartin said...

The bill called for test tube embryos that will become medical waste to be used for research. That is the choice; waste bucket or research to help the sick and suffering. Anyone who has or had a family member or friend with serious health problems knows what the correct answer is. Nancy Reagan, Dana Reaves and millions know the correct answer is in ones heart and it is to heal and releave the suffering.

I do't expect you Cliff, to know the right anwser because this is what you wrote should be done to other people and children, "Every cockroach must be exterminated,NO exceptions!" And that make you an evil person. No if ands nor buts about it.

12:15 PM  
Blogger Cliff said...

Right now, in the Middle east, "cockroaches" are being exterminated. Human
embryos haven't had the chance to decide between right from wrong.

3:24 PM  
Blogger Cliff said...

Jillmartin said"anyone who has or had a family member or friend with serious health problems knows what the correct answer is."
How would they feel if an
innocent person had to die
in order for them to,"have a better life"?

3:47 PM  
Blogger JillMartin said...


The test tube lab embryos that are a mass of cells and have not differentiated into anything such as organs are going into the medical waste. But, you don't understand that.

When you or someone you love is riddled with cancer then it will be to late and you will hate yourself.
You think you are god like but, you are an evil fool.

4:22 PM  
Blogger Cliff said...

Jillmartin, you have good
points, but why the mean-
spirited attacks against me personally?

4:47 PM  
Blogger Dittohead said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:00 PM  
Blogger JillMartin said...


I didn't point you out. My first comment was to all here. You replied to that. All here are evil for being ignorant and not caring about the sick and suffering. Some are evil for supporting war that kills innocent people by the tens of thousands. The occupier has the legal obligation to secure the invaded state. Bush refused and refuses to send enough troops to secure Iraq. He is the most evil person in this world. In modern time only Hitler was worse.

This research will eventually pass. It was only 4 votes short of preventing a Bush veto.

If you want to learn a little, read this...

5:10 PM  
Blogger Dittohead said...


I agree with your opinion. Stem cell reseach should be done. A mass of cells in a petri-dish is not a human being. And those here are not demanding fetility clinic close down. So they are conveniently ignorant.

And Bush is a lying politician because he knows that these masses of cells will be destroyed anyway. Just tossed into the garbage.

5:28 PM  
Blogger Cliff said...

Jillmartin, you said,"All here are evil for being ignorant and not caring about the sick and suffering." Question: What about the innocent babies that are burned to death with saline solution as a form of abortion? Do you have compassion for them?

6:06 PM  
Blogger Cliff said...

Question to anyone here:
At what point does that,
"mass of cells" become human?

6:22 PM  
Blogger JillMartin said...


Does a human being exist without a brain or organs?

Do you think fertility clinics should close down?

6:47 PM  
Blogger JillMartin said...


You think it is good to advocate the continued killing of innocent Arabs and then you act suprised when they elect radicals that hate the US.

Isn't it an endless battle of the craziest people? Do know bin Laden decided he hated America and would seek revenge because of the genocide by America and Israel. And look what is happening now. Bush doesn't even call be a cease-fire.

6:57 PM  
Blogger Cliff said...

I can't believe intelligent people like you
could TOTALLY miss the point!

7:15 PM  
Blogger JillMartin said...


Here you go. Enjoy the show!

7:22 PM  
Blogger Marshall Art said...

Hey Jill,

You're just a goofy nut, aren't you?

You and ditto obviously missed or ignored my comments suggesting adoption for the "leftover" embryos. Why not give that a chance for awhile? But if the research showed any real promise, money would be thrown at it and federal funding would be unneccessary. In my opinion, this is just a way of cementing the lefty notions about embryos not being persons, so as to further justify abortions. Not so much that it's an actual strategy, but that it serves that end.

As to the sick and suffering, much of the sick can adjust their lifestyles to allay their illnesses. This happens frequently for those willing to make the change. But for those like Chris Reeves, as much as I have compassion for their suffering, I have equal compassion for the PEOPLE whose lives are forcibly sacrificed so that those like Chris can walk again. It's one thing to lay down one's life for another, but it's another thing to force one to lay down his life for me. I won't do it ever. I'll deal with my circumstances on my own, thank you very much. I don't need my faith to come to that conclusion. Just being a compassionate human being is enough. And if Jill wants to talk about hypocisy, I wonder if she hold in contempt any who would discriminate against someone because of his color, yet she'll discriminate because of someone's size (in this case microscopic). All but a fraction of a percent of those "masses of cells" are destined to become Social Security recipients if allowed to. But because they haven't developed enough to satisfy Jill, she'll see them killed for personal gain. What a sweety.

As to those poor Arabs you claim to care for, what should a nation do when the enemy targets civilians, and attacks them from positions purposely placed amongst their own people in order to either prevent retaliation, or to use the collateral deaths for propaganda, either option being just fine with them? I think it was Golda Meir who said, "We can forgive you for killing our children, but we won't forgive you for forcing us to kill yours."

As to fertility clinics, I would close down that part that fertilizes mulitple eggs in order to use one. This is a case where they should have held off until they could help women without killing the extras. I don't believe that a woman's desire to experience pregnancy takes precedence over those most helpless and vulnerable lives.

10:31 PM  
Blogger Cliff said...

I've noticed that they always avoid the difficult
questions. They just dance
around them! Time and progress will continue to march on, leaving them in
a delusional wonderland.
After Florida 2000, many had to go into therapy.

11:07 PM  
Blogger JillMartin said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:36 PM  
Blogger JillMartin said...


Marshall Art and Cliff,

The problem is that neither of you even know the first thing about the subject of both fertilization or stem cell research. Your blowing all hot air. If you don't care to know anything about it, well I guess you feel comfortable following whatever the village idiot in the White House wants to do. 70% of Americans figured he's a walking and talking disaster but, apparently you are not in the intelligent segment of the population.

Cliff, you're just an evil person and a dumb one at that. You proved it by using baby killer. It is as stupid as saying Bush is Hitler.

There is nothing to learn from this group of morons. Good bye.

11:38 PM  
Blogger Pete said...

The way I see it, with my admittedly limited knowledge, is that nothing positive has yet emmerged from embryotic stem cells. That's Nothing, wit ha capital 'N'.

Adult stem cells, on the other hand, have already proven to be beneficial, provided relief, and medical breakthroughs, AND, do not require the death of a living organism.

Why are we continuing to pursue an avenue that has not in any way lived up to expectations? As stated above, if there was potential, private funding would be waiting at its doorstep - there would be great profit as a reward! It's not there! That should tell us something. Anyone care to listen?

5:34 AM  
Blogger Cliff said...

Jillmartin said. "There is nothing to learn from this group of morons. Good bye."

Bye Jill!

10:47 AM  
Blogger Dittohead said...

'Strange morality'

It re-emphasised "how out of touch President Bush is with rational thinking on this issue," said Robin Lovell-Badge, head of developmental genetics at the National Institute for Medical Research.

"The stated reason for President Bush's objection to embryonic stem cell research is that 'murder is wrong'; why then does he not intervene to regulate or ban [embryonic] stem cell research carried out with private funds and which is happening across the US?"

"It is a strange morality indeed that pins the moral status and life of the embryo on the question of who is paying for the research."

8:42 PM  
Blogger Editor said...


"This is a vote breaker for me," said the Cincinnati mother. "I tell people I'm becoming a Republi-crat at this point -- because there are just things wrong in the Republican Party where people's voices are not being heard anymore."

The passage on Tuesday of a Senate bill to fund embryonic stem cell research -- and the presidential veto on Wednesday killing the legislation -- hits very close to home for Martin. Her 9-year-old daughter, Jessi, has diabetes and they both hope stem cell research can some day find a cure.

Martin also feels strongly about the use of embryonic stem cells for research because Jessi was conceived by in vitro fertilization -- and Martin and her husband decided years ago to discard nine unused embryos because she could not have another child.

"I would give anything if I could have had those nine cells to give to have a cure for my baby now," she said. "And I think the worst sin of all, and I am a very religious person, I am pro-life, is to look a miracle from God in the face and throw it away."

There are few issues in America quite as emotional as this one, which would expand federal funding for research with unused human embryos that doctors say could lead to breakthroughs against diabetes, Parkinson's disease and spinal cord injuries.

12:49 AM  

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