Response: ‘Stem-cell research needs to be reconsidered by “pro-life” supporters’

By By [email protected]

By [email protected]

The basic premise of ‘Stem-cell research needs to be reconsidered by “pro-life” supporters’ was that it is inconsistent for one to claim to be “pro-life” and also to be against stem-cell research because it may possibly save or improve lives. This premise is based in a misunderstanding of what “pro-life” and objections to stem-cell research are all about.

The primary objection of informed opponents to stem-cell research (and abortion and euthanasia, for that matter) is an objection to arbitrary decisions of who is to sacrifice his life for the improvement of another’s. Should we give doctors the power to, say, take a human life that has barely begun to lengthen the life of a 95-year-old millionare.

What if the best stem-cells are found to not come from developing embryos, but, say, 2 week old babies. Do we then start cultivating and harvesting these? What if the same millionare later needs a liver and the best source is someone that is still alive but maybe does not need it as much–who decides and where is the line drawn?. You may dismiss the slippery-slope as paranoia but, in doing so, you also dismiss the skill of a good lawyer.

Take, for an example of the slippery-slope, The Netherlands, a champion of both socialized medicine and legalized euthanasia. There have been cases in which doctors there have decided that certain patients should no longer consume scarce resources and were “euthanized” for the “greater good”. These patients were terminally ill and were probably selfishly holding on to life, so maybe the right decision was made?

Also consider that all of the twentieth century’s mass murders (i.e. those perpetrated by Stalin, Hitler, Mao, etc.) were done in the name of the greater good where arbitrary decisions were made as to who should die to improve the lives of the rest. I do not want to live in a country where just because someone may be poor, weak, unpopular, different, etc. their life is forfeited to improve the lives of those more worthy of living.

Larry Christensen,bioengineering major,junior,