Sunday, December 02, 2007

Ethical problems with stem cell research

According to recent reports, a "breakthrough" has been made so that skin cells can be turned into stem cells. This has caused excitement in those folks that are (nominally) opposed to stem cell research because of the derivation of embryonic stem cells (you know, eminent scientists and ethicists such as the deeply thoughtful and studious George "Dubya" Bush).

There are still a few drawbacks to this line of research, such as "the stem cells produced are likely to cause cancer", but outside of that niggling detail, the far-thinking ethicists who are trying to protect the "dignity of human life" are pointing to this as an alternative to the use of embryonic stem cells (and thus even more reason to ban the embryonic stem cell research).

But this "breakthrough" hardly stops the ethical inquiry; I think the ethical issues become even more intractable. We at the Society for Prevention of Abuse of Zygotes, Blastcysts, and Other Teensie Skin-cells (SPAZBOTS) recognize that this development shows that skin cells are also potential human life (the article linked above even mentions that clones can be made of skin cells). With this recent advance, we call for an immediate ban on washing dishes by hand (which constitutes the wanton murder of millions of incipient new human babies), and we have instituted a boycott of bathing, brushing teeth, and other bodily hygiene so as to keep our own hands clean of this holocaust, so to speak.

Along with our sister organization, the Organization Protecting Teratomas, Myelomas, Adenomas, and Neuroblastomas (OPTMAN), who are active in advocating for these other under-appreciated but also fully human forms of life (if you look at their genome, that is), we think it's important for us all to remember what it is to be truly human. Teratomas have been know to show
"hair, teeth, fat, skin, muscle, and endocrine tissue" (see images here). These forms of "human life" are just as deserving of a chance to live as some 16-cell blastocyst, and their extirpation for the "convenience" of the person supporting these "preborn human lives" is murder as well. Not to mention, the longer these "human life" forms have been developing, and the larger they get, the more protection they obviously deserve. Once angiogenesis occurs and they have blood circulation, it's unthinkable to kill them.

On another note; we decry the inaccuracies of the article linked above. From the article:

In addition to opposition from the Roman Catholic Church and the anti-abortion movement, women's rights advocates have raised concerns that the technology poses a danger to the young female donors whose eggs are needed for research and would be needed in vast quantities for therapies.

"I don't think they realize what an invasive procedure egg harvesting is for women," said Diane Beeson, professor of sociology at California State University East Bay. The potential for exploitation of low-income women also troubles her. "Women's eggs are very valuable now," she said.

As is well known, no one is being paid for embryos or eggs (for stem cell research, at least); there's plenty of fertilized eggs left over from IVF programs that would otherwise just be thrown away; enough to supply all embryonic stem cell research needs. The real travesty is the daily taking of showers. Let's focus on the real holocaust that is occuring; no need make up false stories to slant the ethical argument.

Update:

Our glorious "Independence Day" Preznit, taking time off from piloting space fighters and defeating the invading alien Terra-sts to get his hands wet in the lab, wasted no time in taking credit for this new research.

Update 2:

ThinkProgress points out that Dubya's 'new bosom buddy' thinks Dubya's a turd and an eedjit.

Cheers,

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