Stem Cells

 

 

Editor, 

Don't you wish media pundits would sometimes look down at the graphic scrawl running along the bottom of the screen before they begin expounding on some subject?  Take embryonic stem cell research.  Some people argue for embryonic stem cell research, saying it's the only way the research for new cures can continue.  The only way?  Many times I've seen graphic scrawls on these very shows announce that the same cells can be obtained from placentas, umbilical cords, bone marrow, and even sinus tissue, thus avoiding legal and ethical problems.  We should always look for other solutions, instead of ending an innocent life.  Take the situation Dr. Dennis Cooley faced.

In 1970, a five year old boy was  brought to Massachusetts General Hospital with a serious congenital heart defect.  Open heart surgery would save the boy's life, but his parents would not permit it because of religious conviction.  The stage was set for a classic confrontation --  state vs. church; parent's vs. child's rights.  But Dr. Cooley cam up with a new life-saving procedure.  Before the operation, some of the boy's blood was drained out into containers then reintroduced during surgery.  Since the blood did not technically leave the patient's body, it was not considered a transfusion when reintroduced.  This new procedure also prevented thousands of deaths from transfusion-borne infections.  Instead of plowing into a legal and ethical battleground, Dr. Cooley and his fellow doctors found an alternate solution.

Today, adult stem cells offer an alternate solution to embryonic stem cells for medical research without bogging down in a legal and ethical 1uagmire.

Sincerely,

 

Editor, 

Last week the subject of restoring "sanity and science" to politics came up in Cynthia Tucker and Maria Coccoís columns and even in the Doonesbury comic strip. But sanity is often in the eye of the beholder. In Soviet Russia, people who opposed Communism were deemed insane and whisked off to psychiatric prisons where they were subjected to brainwashing. Politics often trumps psychiatry even in this country. Homosexuality used to be considered a mental illness. Once the gay libbers got into politics psychiatry reversed itself and now people who disagree with gay libbers are considered mentally ill. Science is now getting politicized, especially in stem cell research. Liberals refuse to distinguish between adult stem cell research (ASCR) and embryonic stem cell research (ESCR). If youíre against ESCR, youíre blasted as being against all stem cell research as well as being anti-science and a flat earther. But real cures have come from ASCR, not ESCR. Liberals claim quite rightly that they are against using slurs like the F-word for gays and the N-word for blacks because itís dehumanizing. Yet they use their own dehumanizing terms for unborn babies, like embryo, fetus, zygote, and the newest, blastocyst. Doesnít sound very human, does it? They also offer more legal protection for animal tissue that human. They say "fur is murder," and "meat is murder" for animals. The ESCR advocates also use the utilitarian argument for human tissue. They say, "We already have the blastocysts, so why not use them?" They donít accept that argument for animal tissue, like ivory. When elephant poachers are caught, no one argues "The elephants are dead, so why not use the ivory?" No, the poachersí weapons, vehicles, and ivory are doused with gasoline and burned. A lot of liberals donít really want sanity and science in politics; they want their politics defining sanity and science.

Yours,

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