Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Stem Cell Research: the Facts...

Last week in Trenton, Chancery Court Judge Neil Shuster rejected a request to postpone printing of the ballots for the November 6 election. The NJ Right to Life and others indicated that the ballot language for Question 2 is unclear. The question asks voters if the state should borrow $450 million for stem cell research. It states that this money would be given to research laboratories for the purpose of finding cures for diseases and injuries. It does not say what this research involves.

These millions of dollars, which we taxpayers would owe, would be used in part for embryonic stem cell research. This money would be taken from adult stem cell research which has been proven successful in clinical trials to treat such diseases as lupus, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. Adult stem cells have been used successfully to treat victims of corneal degeneration, heart attacks, and spinal cord injury. There have been no successful treatments using embryonic stem cells.

Most people are unaware that embryonic stem cell research involves the destruction of human life and leads to human cloning because there is a shortage of “excess embryos” created by in vitro-fertilization (IVF) available for research. Some problems associated with using existing “excess” frozen IVF embryos (human beings) is that many IVF embryos have chromosomal defects, many embryos die in the thawing process, and there is no control of their genetic make-up for study purposes.

The Catholic Church has always been involved in bringing healing and comfort to the sick. Throughout history many religious have established hospitals for this reason. The Church, therefore, continues to support ethical research and procedures to heal. One of these is adult stem cell research. Also, today Catholic hospitals are a major source for the collection of non-embryonic cells: cord blood, placentas, and amniotic fluid.

God does not want us to intentionally destroy human life, because He creates it. From the moment of conception we have a human being in the process of developing. Using human lives, even in their embryonic stage, is treating them like laboratory rats and mice.

I pray that NJ voters will come to an awareness of what Ballot Question 2 is all about and vote no to spending $450 million that we do not have and must borrow and pay back in the future. Moreover, some of this enormous sum—nearly half a billion—would go to the destruction of human lives.

Fr. Stanley