Friday, October 14, 2005

professor on embryonic stem cell research

“How do we study human development without violating the dignity of human life? That’s the challenge of the era,” Dr. William Hurlbut, consulting professor of the Stanford Neuroscience Institute and member of the President’s Council on Bioethics, said at the Archdiocese’s Respect Life Education Day.

“It’s going to be open season on embryos,” Hurlbut warned, and recent speeches and essays by politicians and scientists show that they are trying to marginalize pro-life voices, with “religion relegated to partisan ideology.”

Pro-embryonic stem cell research scientists are increasingly pushing the limits of the age of the unborn child when it becomes socially and scientifically acceptable to take apart for its body parts. While the 14-day embryo - which appears to be merely a ball of cells - is now the latest-stage embryo that most pro-cloning scientists say publicly that they will use for research, that boundary is being pushed back, with a recent study denying early embryos feel pain as just the latest, subtle volley, Hurlbut said. “Seven - to 10 - week old embryos are going to prove to be the most scientifically useful,” he said.

While federal funding of embryonic stem cell research was restricted to existing lines in 2001 by President George W. Bush, there are almost no limits on privately funded research, Hurlbut told the group of about 80 people gathered in a University of San Francisco meeting room. Increasingly, scientists are acknowledging the difficulties with embryonic research that is confined to cloned or in-vitro fertilization embryos grown to the 14 day or blastocyst stage, including the development of teratomas or uncontrolled tumors in cloned embryos.

–excerpt of an article by Valerie Schmalz, which appears in the archdiocesan newspaper "Catholic SanFrancisco."

Powered by Blogger