Embryos are people, too

The new policy on stem-cell research is being debated. I believe that, as Americans, we have a responsibility to examine where our tax dollars are spent, and to make sure that all of our money is used in a manner consistent with the ethics and the principles of the United States, from military spending to diplomatic efforts to scientific research.

As most of the arguments I have heard revolve around the idea that the practice “butchers babies”, I want to address it on those terms.

Let me say that I am firmly of the opinion that the human embryo is human child. It is a sickly, under-developed child in need of very specialized care. Even with this care, there is a good chance this child won’t survive. Many, many children at this stage of life pass away without the parents ever even knowing they had conceived. It is alive, but there is no promise implied, and we should not fool ourselves into thinking that each and every conception leads to a fully grown and functional adult via one constant line of development.

Embryonic Stem-cell research uses the corpses of children artificially conceived for reproduction and on a form of sub-zero life-support. The parents have chosen not to implant these children, creating a situation where an unwanted child can be taken off life support and allowed to pass away without ever knowing the pain of life at all. There has been no call to save these children, keeping them forever frozen or implanting them in surrogates against the parents’ wishes. These are children who will die as embryos.

What is wrong with letting their deaths mean something? We allow, and in fact need, research to be done on human cadavers. That is the primary argument I see here: Are these people? And should we allow them to be used for research? I say that they are people; I grant you that part. And we already do experiment on the dead and use them for research purposes. Why can the same ethics not apply here?

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