Stem Cell Research To be or not to be
By Sylvia Weinstein
There is a furious debate whirling around through the White House, the Congress, the news media, the churches and people who are suffering from serious illness. The debate is between those who favor continued research on embryonic stem cells to perhaps find a cure for autism, Parkinsons disease, multiple sclerosis, heart disease and diabetes; and those who want to stop all research on embryonic cells because it is a fetus. They consider the fetus to be human no matter whether in a petri dish or a warm cuddly baby nursing at its mothers breast.
There are those who support stem cell research but only on adult stem cells. Unfortunately, adult stem cells are already programmed to be part of one organ, unlike embryonic cells that would allow them to be applied to many different organs and uses.
The Pope just recently spoke out against embryonic stem cell research. If this were the 16th century, stem cell researchers would be burned at the stake. Thats what the Catholic Church did in the good old days. As it is today, the Pope could only use his offices to try and stop such scientific research by revving up those fundamentalists who equate a bunch of cells no larger than the period at the end of this sentence with a living breathing human baby. Could there be an eleventh commandment such as, Thou shalt not mess with stem cells?
Having come from a Southern hard-shell Baptist family I understand it all. The fact that there are no chapters or verses in the Bible devoted to stem cell research would be enough to close the whole discussion as far as my grandmother was concerned.
Her opinion on airplanes is an example. She did not understand themhow they flew or stayed in the air and, besides, they werent even mentioned in the Bible! She said that if God had meant us to fly he would have given us wings. She did not feel this way about automobiles. In fact she liked to ride in cars. But I never heard her say that if God had meant for us to ride in cars he would have given us four wheels and a motor. Or on horsesshe liked them. They could be used for plowing a farm or riding them to the store. She never said that if God had meant us to ride horses he would have given us four legs and large eyes.
In the meantime thousands of adults and children are suffering with crippling diseases that could possibly be cured through research on both adult and embryonic stem cells. It is still an early science but most believe it offers the most hope for what are today hopeless cases.
What is maddening is having to argue with flat-earthers about such an important issue. President Bush gives credence to the flat-earthers. Is it because he cares so much for children and is willing to protect every baby? No, he loves money and power. The Catholic Church has both. But so do the most reactionary force of all in this countrythe capitalist class. They use ignorance the way cars use gasoline.
Any country that claims to love children could not sentence a 14-year-old child as an adult and give him 28 years in prison as they have in the state of Florida.
Nor could this country continue to bomb Iraq, denying that country medicine for the thousands of children who have been injured by that war. Name any country and you will see that the claim that American capitalism and its hired guns in Congress have any concern for children or for fetuses is a lie.
Even when there is a breakthrough in the science of the stem cells, giant corporations will be right there to pocket the wealth and subordinate the new bountiful science to profits.
Actually, only a society that produces for use instead of profit can truly give the whole world its gifts of health and concern for the well being of all the earths people. That, my friends, would be a socialist society controlled by the worlds producers, the working class.