Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Stem Cell Editorial in the Lansing State Journal

Ed Rivet, Right to Life of Michigan's Legislative Director, had the following editorial on stem cell research published in the Lansing State Journal. You can view it online here.
Let's seek cures that don't involve killing or cloning

Let's start with the facts about embryonic stem cell research:

1. Embryonic stem cell research is entirely legal in Michigan and is ongoing here with taxpayer and private dollars.

2. Killing live human embryos for research purposes is not legal in Michigan.

3. Couples with "leftover" embryo-stage offspring frozen in fertility clinics can donate them for destructive research. The researchers must be in another state.

4. Couples can release their embryonic children for adoption by infertile couples here.

5. Legislation being proposed on human embryo stem cell research allows for the trafficking and killing of cloned human embryos in Michigan. Under the bill, cloned human embryos created by the same technique as Dolly the sheep, could be imported into Michigan and killed like laboratory rats.

To repeat, there is no ban on embryonic stem cell research. There is a ban on killing live human embryos for research. For years, Michigan researchers have been obtaining embryonic stem cells from other states and countries to do their research. Having to buy steel from Pittsburgh has never stopped Michigan from making cars.

The reason researchers want to kill embryos to create new stem cell lines is - no surprise - money. Specifically, they want to control patent rights on any treatment developed from their embryonic stem cells. If researchers use stem cells from another state to develop a treatment, they might have to share the profits with out-of-state researchers. That's it; that is the real reason they want this legislation. It has little to do with being able to do the research and absolutely nothing to do with the well-being of patients. Just Google "embryonic stem cells patent" and read all about it.

Proponents of embryo destruction argue that "leftover" embryos are currently not protected by law; they are just being "thrown away," and shouldn't be "wasted." Agreed, human life should never be thrown away or wasted. Frozen embryos can be given a chance at life through embryo adoption. While other states kill embryos for profit, we in Michigan can offer them a chance at life. We adopt pets from animal shelters. We even "adopt" highways to keep them clean. Infertile couples are waiting to adopt any child, even a frozen one.

Embryonic stem cell research is unnecessary and unrestrained. Nearly every week clinical studies are announced showing real advances using stem cells derived from many sources including umbilical cord blood, amniotic fluid, skin, muscle, hair follicles, baby teeth, even fat. These "adult" stem cells are showing more and more flexibility as research continues. Researchers have already reprogrammed mouse adult stem cells to behave exactly like mouse embryonic stem cells.

The debate over embryonic stem cells, which are a decade or more from producing results (if ever), is a distraction from the adult stem cells already helping people with dozens of debilitating diseases. Proposed legislation would allow for the trafficking and killing of cloned human embryos in Michigan. The facts are clear, we don't need to clone and kill embryos to find cures.