Cloning for Dollars: Human Life
as a Commodity
Last year, researchers at South Korea's Seoul National University
became the first scientists to successfully clone a single human
embryo. And just days ago, the team in Seoul raised the stakes
again. They announced that they had found a way to clone embryos
in bigger batches: eleven this time, possibly more in the future.
But instead of being chilled by the prospect of producing people
on a kind of assembly line, many of our leaders have decided to
throw all moral caution to the wind.
As soon as lead researcher Hwang Woo-suk announced the results,
many in the media called for an end to President Bush's policy
on stem-cell research. The New York Times lamented that
"leadership in 'therapeutic cloning' has shifted abroad."
It blamed "political and religious opposition" for "hamstringing"
American scientists by denying them "federal support."
The Washington Post was more measured, but it still
concluded that the president's policy "has outlived its usefulness"
and called on Congress to act if the president did not. To his
great credit, President Bush has courageously promised to veto
such a measure, which is soon to pass in Congress.
Lost in all the hand-wringing are some inconvenient facts for
advocates of embryonic stem-cell research: "Any potential
therapy [using embryonic stem cells] is years away from being
tested in humans." That statement is not my assessment. It's
the assessment of that bastion of a secular business worldview:
Investor's Business Daily.
In its May 23 edition, the publication noted that there have
been more than 250 clinical trials using adult stem cells. These
trials have produced eighty therapies. One of these enabled a
Korean woman who had been paralyzed for twenty years to get out
of her wheelchair and take a few steps. This was after only six
weeks of the treatment.
To date, there have been—read closely—no clinical
trials and no therapies produced by embryonic stem-cell research.
Unlike embryonic stem-cell research, obtaining adult stem cells
doesn't require destroying human embryos.
Now, if you're thinking, "Why not pursue both the adult
and embryonic stem-cell research?"—think again. Besides
destroying human life, the embryonic research being pursued by
the Korean team and others involves human cloning.
And even the New York Times and the researchers admit
that. But the phrase they use, therapeutic cloning, is a euphemism.
As with so-called "reproductive cloning," a human embryo
is being manufactured. As the Investor's Business Daily
put it, "Attempting to make a distinction between 'therapeutic'
and 'reproductive' cloning is like trying to say that eating for
nutrition and eating for pleasure are somehow different."
In both cases, we cross that line between human life as an end
in itself and human life as a means to an end. As in the upcoming
movie The Island, we are creating a class of human beings
whose sole purpose is to provide the rest of us with spare body
parts. That there's little evidence that this monstrosity will
even work is fittingly ironic.
This is why we need to support the president's policy and to
work to educate Congress. Human life is sacred, not something
to be manufactured, used, and thrown away. What matters is doing
right by life itself—and we can start by not believing everything
we hear on the news.
More from Charles Colson on CBN.com
From BreakPoint, Copyright 2005 Prison Fellowship
with Chuck Colson" is a radio ministry
of Prison Fellowship Ministries. Reprinted with permission of
Prison Fellowship, P.O. Box 17500, Washington, DC, 20041-0500."
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on the ministry of Chuck Colson and Prison Fellowship visit their
web site at http://www.breakpoint.org.
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