Embryonic Stem Cell Research Draws Heated Comments

July 7, 2008 - 8:03 PM

Charlotte, N.C. (CNSNews.com) - The National Right To Life Committee opposes federal government funding of stem cell research even though some pro-life Republicans believe the president should lead the way on research that might someday result in life-saving therapies for people with Parkinson's, diabetes, and other ailments.

President Bush is expected to make a decision sometime next month.

Dr. Wanda Franz, president of the National Right To Life Committee, said Thursday at a press conference opening the NLRC's Charlotte convention the research involves the killing of human beings.

"Our position is that we oppose any kind of procedures that involve the killing of a human being who has been formed. Every one of us began that way and we go through that stage of life and it's part of our stage of life. Any benefits that systematically destroy a developing human person are wrong," Franz said.

However, Franz said the committee is not opposed to "work and research that further scientific goals as long as life is protected. But when we have these methods in which these stem cells are being harvested from living human people and we oppose that."

Franz said the NRLC believes there are alternatives to stem cell research, including harvesting stem cells from adult bone marrow.

"We should be working toward these kinds of approaches that do not have moral problems associated with them that take the lives of human beings," said Franz.

"It may be that we are going to find out in the future that these approaches are the best ones because using your own cells from your own body, especially adult cells, is going to turn out to be more of an effective approach. We think this should be the direction we should be going in. We don't believe that denying researchers the opportunity to kill people is going to prevent life-saving technologies from being developed," said Franz.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), an abortion opponent, recently sent a ten-page letter to President Bush, saying he has "rarely, if ever, observed such genuine excitement for the prospects of future progress than is presented by embryonic stem cell research."

Hatch and other pro-life Republicans - Sens. Connie Mack of Fla., Gordon Smith of Ore., and Strom Thurmond of S.C. -- said they want Bush to "lead the way for this vital research."

The Bush administration has not yet announced its policy on federal funding for stem cell research involving human embryos, although Bush has said he opposes it.

He is under tremendous pressure from all sides, and no matter what he decides, he will be roundly blasted for making the "wrong" decision.

Staunch pro-life advocates say life is life, at the moment of conception, and that is that.

But Hatch and others say the ultimate "pro-life" position is one that allows for research into life-saving treatments for diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and diabetes.

Congress has passed a law banning federal funding for research that involves the destruction of human embryos. The Clinton administration found a loophole, however, and decided to allow federal funding for stem-cell research, as long as the cells were "harvested" by private groups.

When President Bush took office, he suspended the Clinton interpretation of the law, and he is now in the process of deciding whether federal funds should be used for any research involving stem cells from human embryos.

See Earlier Story:
Pro-Life Convention to Urge Legal Protection for Unborn (28 June 2001)