My blogging friend Roadie over at Roadhouse Blog--you can find him in my blogroll--is a great writer and has published lots of posts that I really like. He graciously gave me permission to reprint a couple of his posts and I'm reprinting the first one here; it's about stem cell research. Roadie has about the clearest layman's explanation of this issue that I've read. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Life is Cheap
Not satisfied with merely peeking into Pandora's box, this week President Obama decided to go ahead and rip the lid off of it in yet another decision designed to show how sophisticated and compassionate he is in comparison to the evil President Bush. Yes, I'm talking about stem cell research. Part of the problem with this particular issue is the mass lack of education of the people on the topic. So here is a very basic tutorial to bring you up to speed.
Stem cells are like the building blocks that our bodies are made of. As technology advances, it is hoped that these cells can be programmed to regenerate faulty organs or even entire nervous systems. It is believed that the cures for cancer or even AIDS will be found via stem cell research. For the record, I believe this myself.
So, what's the problem? Well, there's a little problem with how you go about getting those stem cells. Stem cells can be found in more than one place. They can be found in living adult bodies by taking samples of skin tissue or even bone marrow, without harm to the donor of course. These are known as "adult stem cells". [Stem cells] can also be found in the blood [in] the discarded umbilical cords of newborns, also without harm to the donor. These are known as "cord blood stem cells". Sounds pretty cool so far...right? Now for the controversial part.
Another place [stem] cells can be found [is] in human embryos. These cells are called "embryonic stem cells". For all of you who slept through biology class, an emryo is a person in his/her earliest stages of life. Yes, I said "person". An embryo is not going to grow up to become a tree, a toaster, or an I-pod. It's going to grow to become a person, assuming there are no complications in development. At this point, the uninformed (liberals) might assume the stem cell controversy is just another case of "Bible thumpers" trying to define when life actually starts. Though that is an issue, it's not the issue...at least not for me. My issue is what I call "people farming".
A few years ago there was a moderately successful movie that starred Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson called "The Island". The premise was that there was a corporation whose clients would supply them with DNA in order for them to grow, stock, and "maintain" identical twins for later use as organ donors, according to the need of that client. These "donors" are kept alive in a facility and [are] completely unaware of their purpose thanks to eleborate system of lies and facades controlled by the corporation. As you can imagine, the corporation falls apart when the truth is discovered after the escape of Ewan's and Scartlett's characters. It was early into this movie that I realized that Hollywood had inadvertently provided us with a brilliant case against embryonic stem cells. Though the "big screen" version of the consequences of treating people as parts bins may be a tad exaggerated, it does vividly force you to consider the ethics of such a thing.
I would like to think that there are not people out there who would look at embryonic stem cell research as a way to make a fast buck...but I know better. I would like to think that there will be no pharmaceutical companies that will offer money for the embryos, or women willing to accept such offers...but I know better.
Now that we have decided that embryos are little more than "raw material" to be used at our disposal, I have to wonder what the next step will be. Where will the line be moved to next? Fetuses? Infants? Toddlers? Teens? At what next point do we decide [not] too old to be used as a guinea pig under the false premise of "the greater good" or "science"? Who will get the honor of making that decision?
Also, keep in mind that it is only the media and leftists politicians who imply that conservatives are against all forms of stem cell research. Truth be told, we are for stem cell research just not the type that requires the death of another person.
Reprinted post. Orginially published March 10 on Roadhouse Blog.