Please be advised, this article does not represent the opinion of the moderator of The Stem Cell Blog. It was just simply too bizarre not to post. With thanks to guava_love for pointing it out to me. -dg
WASN’T THIS A FAR SIDE CARTOON?
“I want a coat made out of baby animals – kittens, maybe.”
By SUSAN KONIG, March 14, 2009
ON Monday, when President Obama announced the re versal on embryonic-stem- cell research, there was a small parade of celebrities with diseases and families with sick kids on TV rejoicing in the president’s move.
At least one CNN stem-cell report, however, featured not a human but a a rat with a bum leg hobbling around his cage like – well, like Ratso Rizzo from Midnight Cowboy.
The CNN newsgal explained helpfully, “Look at this poor little rat, there’s clearly something wrong with his legs.” Then, to the reporter’s “Now, look!” delight, the rat – treated with stem cells derived from human embryos – was running all over the place on strong, healthy rat legs.
So, we were watching a rat whose life had been dramatically improved, thanks to the sacrifice of . . . potential human babies. Wasn’t this a Far Side cartoon?
Research shows that adult and umbilical-cord stem cells provide the materials needed for stem-cell research – embryonic stem cells are not needed to cure and treat diseases. So why is the pro-embryonic-research lobby so loath to admit this? Because if we say that destroying human embryos for scientific research is wrong and unnecessary, it’s harder to say that abortion is fine.
Pro-choicers almost never argue that there’s nothing wrong with abortion. They give justifications – usually, the mother’s health and well-being – because they (implicitly, anyway) understand that the taking of human life needs to be justified.
But with research that destroys embryos, there are no mothers – just embryos orphaned in the lab. And looming behind the stem-cell issue is cloning: The scientists can make more embryos when they run out.
Will we allow a whole industry of conceiving and harvesting human life, if it’s for the greater good? And if it’s OK to create and destroy human life for medical research, why limit abortion at all?
Last summer, I went up and down my block to collect for the March of Dimes, the great charity that helps find cures for birth defects. One of my neighbors wouldn’t donate because “I heard they use lab rats in their research, and I’m against that.” I didn’t debate with her (she’s a terrific lady), I respected her belief and moved on to collect from less rat-friendly neighbors.
Still: It’s socially unacceptable to experiment on rats to try and help babies, but it’s now apparently OK to destroy potential human babies?
Here’s my bottom line: I want a fur coat. Before Monday, I thought that it was too politically incorrect. It turned my head to see a woman wearing a really fabulous mink – but then I’d feel guilty for wanting one and think, well, maybe I’ll get a faux fur . . .
But now I want one. If we can experiment on and destroy human babies, then I get a fur coat. And I don’t want to hear any complaints from any animal-rights advocates. I want a coat made out of baby animals – kittens, maybe.