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Stem cell research

02 Aug

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What’s a Blastocyst, Anyway?

August 2, 2005 | By | 2 Comments

Let’s clarify: Senator Bill Frist doesn’t think we should experiment on all embryonic stem cells. He said we should use for research “Only Blastocysts That Would Otherwise Be Discarded.”

Okay. But what’s a blastocyst?

blastocyst.jpg

“Another high quality human blastocyst

The developing fetus itself is the area marked as “ICM” (inner cell mass)”

From the Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago, using blastocyst transfer “with IVF can give high pregnancy rates.”

30 Jul

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Frist Folly

July 30, 2005 | By | 7 Comments

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Senator Bill Frist

What’s the difference between an organ donor and a human embryo? The answer is life and death.

In fact, the difference between an organ donor and an embryo is radically significant, but apparently the Majority Leader of the Senate, Dr. Bill Frist who is himself a heart transplant surgeon, thinks they are basically the same thing. In his speech to the Senate Friday morning which called for more federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, he began by implying that using embryos for scientific research is the same thing as organ transplantation:

. . .when I remove the human heart from someone who is brain dead, and I place it in the chest of someone whose heart is failing to give them new life, I do so within an ethical construct that honors dignity of life and respect for the individual.

Like transplantation, if we can answer the moral and ethical questions about stem cell research, I believe we will have the opportunity to save many lives and make countless other lives more fulfilling.

There’s a big problem with this analogy: An organ donor is dead. An embryo is alive.

The strange thing is that Frist himself acknowledged this point. His statement on embryonic life is jaw-dropping:

Right now, to derive embryonic stem cells, an embryo — which many, including myself, consider nascent human life — must be destroyed.

Is it the adjective “nascent” that makes him believe it’s okay to destroy human life? Those are his very own words!

Then, as Senator Frist moved into discussing the specifics of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, he begins to sound positively Huxleyian — here’s a passage from Frist’s Brave New World:

Third, the bill doesn’t specify whether the patients or clinic staff or anyone else has the final say about whether an embryo will be implanted or will be discarded. [ed. — life or death] Obviously, any decision about the destiny of an embryo must clearly and ultimately rest with the parents.

The parents. Just ponder for a moment the use of this word. It is the right word to use. And oh, how sad.

Does Dr. Frist not understand how clearly he just articulated the so-called “pro-choice” agenda?

He certainly doesn’t want others to notice. He tried to paper it over:

I am pro-life. I believe human life begins at conception. It is at this moment that the organism is complete — yes, immature — but complete. An embryo is nascent human life. It’s genetically distinct. And it’s biologically human. It’s living.

But. He then follows with his call for expanding the research that requires the destruction of these living, “biologically human” “genetically distinct” embryos.

Senator Frist, that’s not pro-life. That’s “pro-life, but. . . ” There’s a big difference.

The difference is life, and death.

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ProLife Blogs has the debate covered beginning with Frist’s Position.

Bitch Ph.D. has a poem at Friday Pet Blogging,

Has it got a finger? Has it got a toe?

Not quite yet, it’s an em-bry-o.

Soon it will be glad to meet us,

But for now it’s just a fetus.

And be sure to read her posting on What it’s like to live with [suicidal] depression.

Visit the excellent horn tooting at Outside The Beltway at Traffic Jam

and while you’re there see My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy with more on radio personality Michael Graham and Islam

Thanks to Mudville Open Post

JustOneMinute has detail in Scuffle in the Big Tent.

The American Mind has blogosphere overview.

02 Mar

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West Wing propaganda on stem cell research

March 2, 2005 | By |

And speaking of declining ratings . . . is it any wonder that West Wing is headed into the tank? The show has become nothing but preaching and propagandizing. Tonight’s episode had a story line about a legislative battle over stem cell research.

The scene that was supposed to pluck the heart-strings featured the Jimmy Smits character persuading another Congressman to vote for stem cell research by arguing that “we are dragging our heels when we could be alleviating suffering.”

Nonsense. I’m skipping over the horrible irony of invoking “suffering” on the side arguing for destroying life — or as Smits parsed it: “the potential person.” Instead I want to highlight the propaganda specific to the stem cell issue. The truth is that the really promising research in this area involves adult stem cells, not embryonic stem cells.

A great resource on this issue is Joni Eareckson Tada. She has been confined to a wheelchair since a diving accident left her a quadriplegic in 1967. She knows real suffering — and she opposes embryonic stem cell research. Here’s a link to her organization and solid research on this issue.