Letter: Bush and stem cells — where do ethics fit in?


From a biomedical perspective, the commenter should understand that there are advantages to using embryonic cells over those obtained from cord blood, which present a valid reason for considering their utilization. Simply stated, nature is better at programming cells for specific tasks than we are.

Tiara Fuller’s argument (“There are better alternatives to embryonic stem cell research,” July 2) states that “it is impossible to draw a line” where life begins. This tenet has some truth that I appreciate, but I believe it is not that simple. For me, there is a difference between a fertilized egg and a fetus, and a difference between a fetus and an adult. A miscarriage is less tragic than a child’s death. I don’t hold others to my opinions-I merely state that other opinions may exist and that truth encompasses more of a spectrum than an absolute.

Life is not cheap, and I am horrified by how often it is taken for granted. I have less of a problem with utilizing embryonic stem cells for a greater good than I have with the Iraq campaign, which utilizes a generally underprivileged class of people against another, risking injury and life for a greater good. There is no line that can be drawn at the beginning of life, but why is one so easily drawn for these other lives?

I resent how the tone of Fuller’s commentary resonates favorably for Bush, suggesting that he stands for moral responsibility. So many orchestrating this war are in a position to profit from the presence of an active military enterprise and improved access to petroleum resources.

In the end, on what grounds is Bush qualified to determine what is ethical? What was his training? Has he walked the path of an exemplary person?

Protect the sanctity of embryos? How about affording the same protection and reverence for all human life?

Alan F. Rope, MDAssistant Professor of PediatricsDivision of Medical GeneticsU School of Medicine