The (Westchester, NY) Journal News sums up my attitudes on GWB’s veto of stem cell research. I especially like the first paragraph, as it talks about how maybe 100 years from now, when diseases that are presently incureable are cured by this important research, this will be a blip on the radar. It will rank up in the eyeroll category, just as evolution does and, long before that, Galileo’s theories on the earth revolving around the sun does.
As a Catholic, I do have issues with abortion, in-vitro fertilization, or any sort of artificial creation/destruction of life. I also recognize, however, that there is no scientific way to pinpoint exactly when life begins, and to impose my faith on others is unfair and, well, illegal. Yet, with stem cell research, I’m a little bit more forgiving, primarily because it’s poised to save so many lives. However, there’s more to it than that.
It is money to fund research on embryos that will be destroyed anyway. There will be no artificial creation of embryos just to destroy them (and, if that was part of the deal, no I would not be so supportive of it). It will be leftover in-vitro eggs that the mother and father are not comfortable donating to a childless couple, but still want to help someone else. Personally, and I recognize that not everyone will share this viewpoint, I don’t see it as all so different from donating the organs of a loved one who has passed. Some people aren’t comfortable doing this, either. That’s okay. But why should we take away that option?
The arguments against it are weak. Bush, for example, argues that it’s about protecting the smallest members of our society. Yet we allow embryos to be destroyed every day with the practice of in-vitro fertilization. Sure, some people donate their embryos to childless couples. Not everyone does. So those embryos get trashed. And we certainly cannot force couples to donate these embryos, as that violates all kinds of privacy laws.
So, for as long as in-vitro fertilization is legal (and whether or not it kind of gives me the creeps is irrelevent), saying stem cell research is morally wrong is hypocritical at best.
And, as far as science and religion are concerned, I firmly believe that everything is connected, and it’s all part of God’s plan – including the part about having a scientific explanation for everything. The beauty of how the world is interconnected is His doing, too. Science and religion can get along, we humans just prefer that it clash.