Monday, March 8, 2010

Unethical Stem Cell Research versus Ethical Research

A new group, the Irish Stem Cell Foundation, was established during last year. At the time, I had hoped that perhaps the motives behind the setting up of this group might prove to be benign. However, it has now emerged that such is not the case, and that it is not the objective authority that it initially purported to be. The organisation was founded by a leading advocate of lethal research on human embryos. Dr Stephen Sullivan, Youth Defence reports, returned to Ireland from abroad in 2007 with the purpose of setting up a laboratory that would involve using human embryos for research. Although the ISCF put itself forward as a body whose ‘primary objective is to educate about stem cells’, it seems that it is now pushing for research on human embryos. Dr Sullivan has reportedly claimed that his research at Harvard University had used human embryos that were ‘left over’ from IVF procedures, and that these ‘cells’ would ‘never become a foetus, let alone a baby or a human being.’

Had Dr Sullivan heard what Professor Robert George and Professor William Hurlbut had to say about unethical stem cell research, and its uselessness – apart altogether from the immorality of killing human embryos – he might have learned a thing or two about the endless possibilities available from the use of ethical stem cells obtained from adults, from cord blood, etc. Professor George (professor of Jurisprudence, Politics and Philosophy at Princeton University, USA) and Professor Hurlbut (Stanford University, USA, and former member of the US President’s Council for Bioethics) were speaking at a conference in Dublin on 5 March last, held under the auspices of the Pro-Life Campaign and Family and Life. There was a very large attendance at the conference, so much so that it continued for about an hour after the scheduled finishing time as many people present wanted to put questions to the two speakers, who were more than enthusiastic in promoting the value and dignity of human life from its very beginnings.