Thursday, March 23, 2006

Stem Cell Research: They Just Don't Get It

Stem Cell Research: They Just Don't Get It

The folks supporting use of fetuses and embryos for research sound ghoulishly reminiscent of a crude joke that was circulating some years back:

Q. What did Jeffrey Dahmer say to Lorena Bobbitt?
A. You gonna eat that?

Have we really backslidden as a society to where we look at our own and say, 'You're not gonna throw that away, are you?' Half a century ago the Germans embraced the idea of recycling human beings. Why stop at just organs and stem cells, if we're going to treat our young and our dead like empty milk cartons? Why let Uncle George go into the ground with all that gold in his teeth? And what about the other parts of the body that will just go to waste if we stick them in a coffin and bury them? If human beings are just one more waste material to be recycled, why not make soap and lamp shades?

In fact, why stop there? Proponents of cannibalizing human dead insist that abortion is necessary because many of the world's people are hungry. Soylent Green, anyone?

Taboos develop for a reason. The taboo against cannibalism no doubt protects weaker people during times of famine from being harvested as food for the stronger. We need to reawaken our taboo against treating our fellows -- living and dead -- as if they exist merely for our use and convenience.

Human organ transplants have already led to horriffic abuses, including poor people from developing countries selling their kidneys to rich people from so-called 'civilized' countries.

Once we embrace the 'Waste not, want not' attitude toward the human unborn, what's next? To what lengths might a poor mother be driven when wealthy Westerners are willing to pay her for producing ... ahem ... sources of stem cells? If we continue down this road, look for the day when women in developing countries are turned into fetus farms, embryos into a cash crop.

There are promising developments with adult stem cells, as well as with cord blood. It's not necessary to treat our fellow human beings like so many junked cars.

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