29 February 2008

MN Bill to Fund Destruction of Embryos

In this weeks Catholic Spirit newspaper column, Archbishop John C. Nienstedt addresses a bill currently in the MN legislature that promotes embryonic stem cell research. Please contact your legislator urging them to vote against this bill.

Here is the column.

"Last week, I added a last minute plea at the end of my column for readers to contact their state legislators as well as the governor about the bill S.F. 100.
Originally, the House was to have voted on this measure last week (hence my urgency!), but now the vote has been delayed. If it should pass in the House, it will go back to the Senate and then on to the governor. The delay offers me the opportunity for a fuller comment.
S.F. 100, sponsored by [Democrats] Rep. Phyllis Kahn and Sen. Richard Cohen, would force taxpayers to pay for the destruction of human life on a scale never seen before in Minnesota's history. Readers are asked to call, write or e-mail their representatives in the House and Senate as well as Gov. Tim Pawlenty to protest passage of this legislation.
Assault on human dignity
Not only would S.F. 100 promote embryonic stem-cell research, it would permit human cloning as well. Surely this is a slippery slope that will inevitably lead to the mass production of human embryos for sale to researchers. How can one not see this cultural deterioration as anything but an assault on the dignity of human life?
But even from a practical point of view, this emphasis on using embryonic stem cells instead of adult stem cells makes no sense.
Adult stem cells are readily available from adult tissues and organs, from fat, bone marrow, umbilical cords, the placenta and amniotic fluid. They can be coaxed into becoming heart tissue, neural matter, skin cells and a host of other tissues.
Their power is real and tangible as they have already successfully treated some 70 health conditions, including autoimmune diseases such as lupus, multiple sclerosis, Crohn's disease and rheumatoid arthritis. They have been used to avert corneal degeneration and restore vision in cases of blindness. They also have been utilized to restore cardiac function to those who have had a heart attack as well as improve movement for patients with spinal cord injuries.
To date, there have been no (read: zero) successful cures with embryonic stem cells.
Supported by science
Last Nov. 20, two scientific papers were published in Science and Cell magazines detailing new ways in which adult stem cells can be "reprogrammed" into becoming "pluripotent" stem cells that are able to develop into any tissue in the human body.
These can do what, until now, only early-stage embryonic cells could do and thus can now provide the same potential therapeutic benefits.
Doesn't it make sense for our government to fund this kind of research, rather than using your tax dollars and mine to continue the slaughter of innocent human life?
Why indeed should we proceed down this path that will inevitably lead to a social situation in which human life is created for the very purpose of being destroyed?
If scientists desire to engage in unethical research projects, it should not be with our concurrence.
Please join me in contacting your state senator, House representative and the governor's office today. Raise your voice against S.F. 100!
God bless you!"

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