Stem Cell Experiments

A short time ago President Bush was faced with a difficult decision. The issue evolved around embryonic stem cell experiments. What ever his decision it was certain to be opposed by a large block who disapproved of it. The potential benefits of such experiments were said to be many. Lives could potentially be saved and the quality of life for others improved. Those assets are not to be minimized. It was thought his decision would influence our culture physically and morally for years to come. Many who conceded it to be morally wrong argued the benefits were so great it was worth the compromise. Those who said there should be no moral compromise were thought to be lacking compassion and insensitive to the benefits.

If it were wrong is it OK to do wrong in order to get the opportunity to do right? There is a moral question confronted by every individual in every age. A certain segment of our society doesn’t like to be told anything is simply wrong.

It is grievous when proponents of moral compromise in order to achieve a good physical advantage later find there was a morally right way. Patience often allows for a win-win condition to be discovered. That is, there is found a moral way to achieve the same physical good. In making his decision that seemed to be what President Bush was delaying in hopes would happen. Well, there seems to be good news.

On January 23, 2002 “NEW SCIENTIST” published an article entitled “Ultimate Stem Cell Discovered.” Catherine Verfaillie at the University of Minnesota — who is an advocate of embryonic stem cell experiments – is reported to have discovered stem cells in adults that can turn into muscle, cartilage, bone, liver, nerve, or brain cells. The cells called “multipotent adult progenitor cells,” or MAPCs, can do everything embryonic stem cells can do.

The research indicates that MAPCs can form every tissue type in the body and can be grown in culture indefinitely without signs of aging. In addition, MAPCs don’t form cancerous masses when injected into adults, a major problem with embryonic stem cells.

Bottom line: This being true there is no longer a need to clone human beings or harvest stem cells from human embryos for genetic research. Future cures for cancer, leukemia, or diabetes can be pursued without the moral controversy surrounding these practices. If these studies are correct as reported the debate is changed. We would be able to be morally right and physically advantaged.

There is sage wisdom is stated two ways.

“Do not evil that good may come.”

“Never do wrong in order to get a chance to do right.”

As with the decision by President Bush there are persons who come down on both sides of those statements. However, they sure keep a moral compass on true north.