remains to be seen now that the election is over. Will we now allow
the terrorists to come and kill us here at home? This message isn't
about that, but about the killing already going on in our nation, and the
momentum from the election decisions in that regard...
[our people need to know the
Q. What is a stem cell?
A. A stem cell is a cell that has the potential to
develop into different types of cells. Stem cells are the basic building
blocks of the human body. In embryos, these master cells develop into the
200 or so distinct cell types in the body. In adults, stem cells act as
nature's repair kit to replenish existing cells when they wear out or are
Q. Where do stem cells come from?
A. All of our bodies contain stem cells. In research,
there are primarily two types of stem cells: embryonic and non-embryonic
(also called "adult"). Both types are developmentally flexible. Embryonic
stem cells come from five-to seven-day human embryos. In order to collect
these cells, a living, human embryo must be destroyed.
Adult stem cells come from a variety of sources, including skin cells, bone
marrow, placenta, umbilical cord blood and body fat. No human lives are
destroyed in harvesting adult stem cells. 1
Q. Why is it wrong to destroy embryos for their
A. Biologically, an embryo represents one of the
earliest stages of human life. Human development progresses in a continuum,
from the single cell to the embryonic stage, then a fetus, newborn, toddler,
adolescent and adult. Embryos, whether created through in vitro
fertilization, cloning or sexual intercourse, are fully human and deserve
protection. The weakest and most vulnerable member of the human family — the
embryo — should not be the subject of scientific experimentation. It is
never morally or ethically justified to destroy one human in order to
possibly save another. Advances in adult stem cell research provide both
tangible hope for patients and an ethical avenue for developing the
therapies they need.
Q. Where do human embryos used in embryonic
stem-cell research come from?
A. Initial embryonic stem-cell research centered on
destroying embryos created by in-vitro fertilization (IVF), an
assisted reproductive technology. Most clinics offering IVF create
additional embryos that are not implanted but frozen for use in later
pregnancy attempts. Sometimes parents who have their desired number of
children “donate” these additional embryos to science for destructive embryo
More recently, scientists have turned to human cloning for embryonic
stem-cell research, creating new human life for the sole purpose of
destroying it. As researchers perfect human cloning techniques, we can
expect to see more young humans cloned and destroyed for this type of
Dissecting tiny humans for their cells is unethical and immoral. For
instance, convicted criminals on death row would make excellent research
subjects and are destined to die anyway. Why not allow scientists to conduct
experiments on these men and women before they are executed by the state for
their crimes? Of course, we would never allow such experiments on adult
humans, but somehow embryonic humans can be dismembered in the laboratory
So, when you hear advocates rationalize destructive embryo research on the
basis that some embryos will die anyway, remember the old maxim: the ends do
not justify the means.
Adult stem cells have much to offer today. Non-embryonic stem cells are
successfully used on a regular basis to treat patients and have been for
more than 20 years. As of June 2004, the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
reports funding 330 human clinical trials using non-embryonic stem-cell
sources. The National Marrow Donor Program has identified more than 70
treatable diseases using these cells in therapy, including breast cancer,
leukemia and sickle cell anemia. Researchers also have successfully treated
patients with Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, heart damage and
spinal cord injuries using non-embryonic stem cell sources. Adult stem cells
offer tangible hope to patients today.
Q. Is there evidence that patients are being helped
by adult stem cells?
A. That’s because most in the media are so focused on
the debate over embryonic stem-cell research that they miss the real news
story. Over the last two years, a U.S. Senate committee heard testimony from
several patients who are directly benefiting from therapies derived from
adult stem cells.
In July 2004, senators listened as Susan Fajt and Laura Dominguez described
separate automobile accidents that left each woman in a wheelchair,
paralyzed with spinal cord injuries. Both women are regaining muscle control
and walking with the aid of braces due to stem-cell transplants from their
own nasal cavities. At the same hearing, Dennis Turner told how his
Parkinson’s disease symptoms improved, thanks to a stem-cell transplant from
his own neuron (brain) stem cells. In June 2003, Keon Penn told committee
members about his first-hand experience with the healing power of stem
cells: a transplant of umbilical cord stem cells cured his sickle cell
anemia. None of these stem cell sources required the loss of human life.
Unfortunately, there was a virtual media “blackout” of these stories.
House of Representatives has twice passed a comprehensive ban on human
cloning (July 31, 2001
and February 27, 2003).
The U.S. Senate has yet to vote on this issue. Meanwhile, the United Nations
is also considering a complete ban on human cloning. However, proponents of
human cloning for destructive embryonic stem cell research oppose a
comprehensive ban. The following talking points examine the issues involved.
Q. What is human cloning?
A. Human cloning intentionally copies the genetic
code of one person in order to create another with virtually the same
genetic material. It creates a new, individual human life based on the
genetic blueprint of only one donor or parent rather than two.
Current attempts to clone humans utilize the same technique previously used
to clone animals, such as Dolly, the sheep. The method employed is called
somatic cell nuclear transfer (imp’t to know since they often use this
term…the word “cloning” being fairly unpopular). Dolly was 100 percent
sheep, so would cloned human embryos will be 100 percent human. No, God made
man in His image and “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man
became a living soul.” Only God can make a real human…and if ever man
succeeds at cloning himself, the result will not be fully human. I don’t
believe man will ever be fully successful at cloning himself (Dolly was
euthanized in February 2003 due to complications from premature aging.)
Q. What is the difference between “reproductive”
and “therapeutic” cloning?
A. All human cloning is reproductive, as it
duplicates the genetic material of the donor and creates a new human life.
The terms, “reproductive” and “therapeutic,” speak to what you intend to do
with the cloned embryo: it could be implanted into a woman’s womb with the
goal of a live birth (reproductive) or destroyed in a research laboratory
for its stem cells (therapeutic). It is important to understand that cloning
is the method used to create the embryo, regardless of why the embryo was
Q. Why do some groups support “therapeutic” cloning
and oppose a total cloning ban?
A. It is speculated that embryonic stem cells may be
a promising source of cures for a variety of human illnesses and ailments.
Some scientists want to expand embryonic stem cell research by using a
patient’s genetic material to clone a human embryo, which would be destroyed
for its stem cells. Theoretically, these cells would be used to create
personalized therapies that the patient’s body would not reject. To date,
success with animal embryonic stem cell experiments (cloned or otherwise) is
limited and researchers have been unable to move beyond animal studies
because of the unpredictability and tumor-causing propensity of these cells.
It's important to note that embryonic stem cells (human or animal) have not
"cured" or treated a single patient. Other researchers argue that cloning
for embryonic stem cell research is unnecessary. They point to the proven
track record of alternative sources of stem cells — such as bone marrow and
umbilical cord blood — which currently provide medical therapies for
Q. What is the status of research using these
alternative stem cell sources?
A. A steady flow of published research indicates
great promise in the area of so-called “adult” or non-embryonic stem cell
sources. Even more, therapies using stem cells from sources such as bone
marrow, umbilical cord blood, the brain and nose have already successfully
treated patients with conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, heart disease,
sickle cell anemia and spinal cord injuries. These direct therapeutic
benefits to patients demonstrate that advancements using adult stem cells
surpass any animal research currently underway using embryonic stem cells.
One example involves research into Parkinson’s disease. A recent study
published in the U.S.
reported success in addressing some Parkinson’s disease symptoms in rats
using human embryonic stem cells. As promising as this may sound, it pales
in comparison to Parkinson’s disease research using adult stem cells. For
instance, in April 2002, a Los Angeles physician reported effectively
treating a Parkinson’s patient using the patient’s own neuron stem cells.
Q. Why are we against “therapeutic” cloning?
A. The mounting evidence of the apparent healing
power of adult and non-embryonic stem cells makes research using embryonic
stem cells unnecessary. Furthermore, the moral implications of creating
human embryos for the purpose of destroying them for stem cells are
staggering. It is never morally or ethically acceptable to kill one human in
order to possibly save another. A cloned embryo is genetically a nearly
identical twin of the donor at a different age, and is therefore fully
human. Human embryos merit the same protection as humans in other stages of
development. Every human life starts out as an embryo and hopefully grows
from there into other life stages: fetus, infant, toddler, and so on. Size
and location do not determine humanity.
Q. What about those who do not view human embryos
as persons who merit protection?
A. This is not a debate over the question of
personhood; it’s a question of whether we will protect the weakest humans
among us or allow young humans to be used as raw material for scientific
Another consideration is the distinct possibility that scientists will fail
in their attempts to use cloned embryonic stem cells in research. Currently,
a general definition of “therapeutic” cloning, as proposed in public policy,
involves destroying the cloned embryos within the first 14 days of
existence. What will happen if scientists discover that the stem cells of an
eight-week old fetus hold more promise than those of a two-week old embryo?
This question is not entirely speculative: Recently, researchers at Advanced
Cell Technology reported implanting cloned cow embryos into wombs, allowing
the embryos to grow up to eight-weeks before destroying them for more
developed stem cells. In reaction, some researchers said it would be
"unthinkable" to create spare body parts from eight-week-old human fetuses.
However, in testimony before a U.S. Senate committee, New
York Medical College biology professor Stuart Newman, PhD, voiced concern
that human cloning will lead to the cloning and growth of human fetuses in
order to provide researchers with more mature tissue and cells.
Q. How should we respond to claims that cloned
embryos are only “unfertilized eggs,” making it morally acceptable to
destroy them for embryonic stem cells?
A. This is a misnomer. The female germ cell used in
SCNT is not fertilized with sperm, but that’s the point of cloning — to
bypass sexual reproduction and create embryos without fertilization.
However, the result of SCNT is not “eggs” (pre-fertilization or otherwise)
but embryos, containing all the genetic material necessary to be a
developing human. By using the term, “unfertilized eggs,” proponents of
cloning for embryonic stem cells also defeat their own argument because
pre-fertilization ova are not, nor do they contain, stem cells; stem cells
only exist in genetically complete humans. The fact that the end result of
human cloning is an entity with stem cells validates the humanity of the
embryo. If the cloned organisms were unfertilized eggs, there would be no
stem cells to harvest for research.
physicians be granted the power to intentionally end the lives of their
proposals to legalize physician-assisted suicide have raised this question
and triggered intense legal, medical and social debate. For some
individuals, the debate is fueled by their fear that medical technology may
someday keep them alive past the time of natural death. However, this
concern is unfounded for mentally competent adults who have a legal right to
refuse or stop any medical treatment. It is also important to recognize that
today's health care climate lends itself more to undertreatment than
However, the present debate is not about refusing treatment or taking
extraordinary measures. The issue is whether physicians should be allowed to
intentionally kill their patients, either by providing the means of death or
ending the patient's life by the doctor's hands. There is a tremendous
distinction between allowing someone to die naturally when medical
technology cannot stop the dying process and causing someone to die through
assisted suicide or euthanasia. The question is one of intent: Is the
intention to cause the death of the patient?
The terms "physician-assisted suicide" and "euthanasia" are often used
interchangeably. However, the distinctions are significant. The act of
physician-assisted suicide involves a medical doctor who provides a patient
the means to kill him or herself, usually by an overdose of prescription
Meanwhile, euthanasia involves the intentional killing of a patient by the
direct intervention of a physician or another party, ostensibly for the good
of the patient or others. The most common form of euthanasia is lethal
injection. Euthanasia can be voluntary (at the patient's request),
nonvoluntary (without the knowledge or consent of the patient) or
involuntary (against his or her wishes).
Holland situation where initially they did physician assisted suicides w/
“safeguards” in place, and now they euthanize infants by simple committee
approval, and the elderly are just as at risk…and all under the banner of
Terrie in FL…
Euthanasia is illegal in the United States. Physician-assisted suicide is
illegal by statute or common law in most states. Oregon is the only state
where physician-assisted suicide is legal.
In 1997, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that there is no federal
constitutional right to physician-assisted suicide. However, the decision
does not address individual state constitutions, which could be interpreted
by other courts to include a state right to physician-assisted suicide.
Many state legislatures have tackled this issue in recent years, with more
than 25 rejecting bills to legalize physician-assisted suicide and nearly a
dozen states adopting new laws to ban it. No state legislature has voted to
legalize physician-assisted suicide.
Oregon approved a ballot initiative to legalize physician-assisted suicide
in 1994 and reaffirmed the vote in 1997. Five other attempts to legalize
physician-assisted suicide (or euthanasia) through ballot initiative
(California in 1988 and 1992, Washington State in 1991, Michigan in 1998,
and Maine in 2000) all failed.
Stories Behind the
Supporters often use emotional stories of terminally ill patients suffering
in the final days of life to justify legalizing physician-assisted suicide.
These stories communicate that an early, premeditated death is the best, and
perhaps the only, option for the patient. However, a growing number of
medical professionals who work with dying patients are speaking out to
dispute this perception. Consider the following statements:
If we treat their depression and we treat their pain, I've never had a
patient who wanted to die.
Wood, M.D., clinical director of the Winship Cancer Center at Emory
University in Atlanta, as published in Time, April 15, 1996, p. 82.
have never seen a case nor heard of a colleague's case where it
(physician-assisted suicide) was necessary. If there is such a request, it
is always dropped when quality care is rendered.
Emanuel, M.D., Ph.D., director of the American Medical Association's
Institute on Ethics, as published in "The New Pro-Lifers," The New York
Times Magazine, July 21, 1996.
clinical practice, I have been asked by suffering patients to aid them in
death because of severe pain. I have had the opportunity to see these
requests for aid in death fade with adequate pain control, psychological
support, provision of family support, and with the promise that their
symptoms would be controlled throughout the dying process.
Foley, M.D., chief of pain service at MemorialSloan-Kettering
Cancer Center in New York City, as part of her testimony before the House
Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Washington D.C., April, 1996.
to Oppose Physician-Assisted Suicide
There are many reasons for opposing attempts to legalize such actions. Here
are a few:
Acceptance of physician-assisted suicide sends the message that
some lives are not worth living.
acceptance of physician-assisted suicide tells elderly, disabled and
dependent citizens that their lives are not valuable. Doctors who list death
by assisted suicide among the medical options for a terminally or
chronically ill patient communicate hopelessness, not compassion.
The practice of physician-assisted suicide creates a duty to die.
health-care costs, coupled with a growing elderly population, set the stage
for an American culture eager to embrace alternatives to expensive,
long-term medical care. The so-called "right to die" may soon become the
"duty to die" as our senior, disabled and depressed family members are
pressured or coerced into ending their lives. Death may become a reasonable
substitute to treatment and care as medical costs continue to rise.
There are better medical alternatives.
ill patients do not need to suffer a painful death. Today's pain management
techniques can provide relief for up to 95 percent of patients, thus
offering true death with dignity. And this is not to mention the dying grace
that God gives and I’ve personally seen so many times!
Physician-assisted suicide ignores what may be a legitimate cry for
thoughts often indicate the presence of severe depression. A study of
terminally ill hospice patients found only those diagnosed with depression
considered suicide or wished death would come early. Patients who were not
depressed did not want to die. Depression can and should be treated. Man
possesses a natural desire to live! These doctors are saying, ok, let me
help you die…
Physician-assisted suicide gives
too much power to doctors.
suicide does not give the patient autonomy. It gives the power to the
doctor. The doctor essentially decides if you live or die, and doctors can
Physician-assisted suicide opens
the door to euthanasia.
Q. Is there an
example of assisted suicide in the Bible?
There is an account of reported voluntary euthanasia (in which one person
asks another to kill them, ostensibly in order to alleviate the first
person’s suffering) involving King Saul and an Amalekite (2 Samuel 1:1-16).
The unnamed Amalekite tells King David that he killed Saul at Saul’s
request, as Saul was wounded in battle. David’s response is to kill the
Amalekite for touching God’s anointed. If euthanasia were a beneficial
practice, David would have rewarded the Amalekite, not sentenced him to
should Christians respond to the fear (or reality) of pain and suffering?
Be strong and of a good courage, fear
not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with
thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. And the Lord, he it is that
doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither
forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.
He that spared not his own Son, but
delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us
all things? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall
tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril,
or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him
that loved us.
Yea, though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art
with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Q. How should
Christians respond to personal challenges, disabilities and infirmities?
And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the
Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
2 Cor. 12:9
And he said unto me, My grace is
sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most
gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of
Christ may rest upon me.
Not that I speak in respect of want: for
I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
I can do all things through Christ which
But my God shall supply all your need
according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
experienced physical, spiritual and psychological suffering. How did he
Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and
shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,  And
said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return
thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of
What? shall we receive good at the hand
of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his
suffering have spiritual value? Can God be glorified in how we respond to
That I may know him, and the power of his
resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable
unto his death;
2 Cor. 4:7
But we have this treasure in earthen
vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
2 Cor. 4:16-18
For which cause we faint not; but though
our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.  For
our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more
exceeding and eternal weight of glory;  While we look not at the things
which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which
are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
it’s my body. Don’t I have a right to choose when I die?
1 Cor. 3:16
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of
God dwelleth in you?
1 Cor. 3:17
If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God
destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye
1 Cor. 6:19-20
What? know ye not that your body is the
temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are
not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your
body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
it acceptable for a Christian, who is terminally ill, to refuse available
technology in order to let nature take its course and bring about a natural
To every thing there is a season, and a
time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to
die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the
death of his saints.
Thine eyes did see my substance, yet
being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in
continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
the acts of assisted suicide and euthanasia deny God the opportunity to
demonstrate His healing power?
When the even was come, they brought unto
him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with
his word, and healed all that were sick:
Confess your faults one to another, and
pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of
a righteous man availeth much.