400,000 stem cell babies: Bush vetoed! What now?


By: Nancy Pallock

The veto of the Stem Cell bill was a miracle for abortion rights advocates everywhere, but it also presents a new issue: protecting the precious lives of the 400,000 unused embryonic stem cells. Unfortunately, some of them will be lost regardless in the defrost process, so the number has already started to shrink, making the need to act doubly important.

These embryos were created with a well-meaning but misguided intent to cure diseases. Now that their original purpose has been deemed unlawful, the embryos should be used in curing one of America’s social diseases. George W. Bush has said, “Human life is a gift from our Creator and that gift should never be discarded, devalued or put up for sale.”

In response, a distribution network needs to be arranged, along with a tax benefit, to find homes somewhere in the world for these children. Presumably, the moral dilemma alone should spur many couples to adopt one of these embryos, but a monetary motivation must accompany the joyful burden to reach the necessary numbers.

Apparently, scientists tend to overproduce embryos when preparing for experiments, so a good place to begin searching for couples to adopt would be within the halls of our academic institutions. The academic members of society tend to have fewer children as well, making their homes very suitable for taking on a child or two. Moreover, because they are organized people and well-educated members of society, they could raise children quite well if they simply chose to do the right thing.

In fact, the onus for these adoptions should fall mostly on the scientific community, not only in academia, but also in the pharmaceutical companies and biotech firms. Not only will their lives be enriched by adopting a generation of “Stem Cell Babies,” they will also gain respect and insight for their own work. Robert George, a member of President Bush’s Council on Bioethics has articulated the situation quite well. He has stated, “…those bunches of cells are very unique bunches of cells. Those are human beings in the earliest stages of their natural development. You were one once; I was one once.”

While it is refreshing to hear a scientist speak this way, Mr. George could make an even bolder statement in being one of the first to adopt a “Stem Cell Baby.” With his position and clout in the science world, Mr. George’s decision to adopt would influence many others in his circle of peers to follow suit. In a poignant argument, he compared the American situation to infanticide in ancient cultures. “You can find ancient cultures whose religions authorized infanticide. But that didn’t make it right. And that doesn’t mean that we should accept it.”

In this respect, if citizens and politicians do not act now, we are facing an embarrassing holocaust. These embryos are just sitting in freezers. They need to be removed from the liquid nitrogen, thawed, and transferred inside the loving wombs of live, healthy women.

Fortunately, an infrastructure is already in place for the collection of these latchkey embryos. The National Embryo Donation Center in Knoxville, Tennessee can act as the hub for saving these unspent lives. The act of collecting and adopting these embryos could make Knoxville a popular pilgrimage spot for families hoping to expand. Families averse to having intercourse can be relieved in the fact that the fertilization is already accomplished for them. Another distribution method for the embryos could be to use Knoxville as something akin to a retail distribution center. The embryos could be brought into the safe environment of Knoxville and then repackaged. When the embryos were needed, they could be sent overnight in dry-ice via Fed-Ex to one the many infertility clinics nationwide and upon arrival be transferred immediately into an awaiting uterus.

Rather than rely on the church-going constituents to solve yet another family issue, we must look to the ones responsible and hold them accountable. We must act quickly to mandate these adoptions, with special preference for the academics, clinicians, and proponents of this misguided research. For playing God, the burden is incumbent upon them to make space for these children, not only in their homes, but also in their hearts.

Time is very important now in the saving of these babies. President Bush has volleyed the ball into the citizens’ court. Now that the scientific destruction of these embryos is no longer an option, we as a nation have two choices: adoption, or the slow, icy massacre of natural degeneration.

A Surplus Of Embryos: What Should Happen With Extra Embryos?

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/02/09/60minutes/main1300667.shtml

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