Republicans and embryonic stem cell research

State Sen. David Adelman (D-Atlanta) questions Preston Smith (R-Rome) during stem cell debate. Kim Smith/AJC

State Sen. David Adelman (D-Atlanta) questions Preston Smith (R-Rome) during stem cell debate. Kim Smith/AJC

Barack Obama couldn’t have pitched a more volatile issue into the lap of the Georgia Republican party had he wrapped it in black electrical tape and attached a timer.

By lifting federal restrictions on embryonic stem cell research last week, the president has guaranteed a fractious, maybe permanent, debate over limits on the biotech industry and academic inquiry in this state — and much of the South.

Within three days of Obama’s long-expected announcement, the state Senate passed S.B. 169, a bill to prohibit one form of embryonic stem cell research, therapeutic cloning.

The state university system and its flagship institution opposed the measure. Gov. Sonny Perdue appeared to endorse it. His chief industry recruiter, Kenneth Stewart, commissioner of the state Department of Economic Development, was noticeably silent.

More than gay marriage, more than abortion, and certainly more than the Sunday sale of alcohol, the clash over embryonic stem cell research challenges the Republican alliance between conservative Christians and business interests.

At the same time, polls consistently show strong public support for the research, which uses donated embryos that would otherwise be discarded.

Republicans understand their dilemma. While the governor twice expressed his opposition to embryonic stem cell research last week, a spokesman said Perdue has not communicated that position to the Board of Regents. Which presumably means that state universities are free to pursue the federal grants expected to be offered in the late spring by the National Institute of Health.

GOP lawmakers, too, have been wary of the conflict.

The House considered its own restrictions on stem cell research last week. H.B. 388 would have declared every human embryo — whether in a womb or Petri dish — to be a child in the eyes of God, though not the state revenue commissioner. (A specific provision eliminated any income tax deduction for an embryo that hadn’t experienced birth.)

H.B. 388 was gutted, and only then approved by the chamber.

As originally written, S.B. 169 — now the focus of all discussion after its Thursday passage in the Senate — included even tougher provisions, including one that would have barred Georgia couples from donating to science the unused embryos derived from invitro fertilization.

Perdue says the legislation poses no threat to the biotech industry in Georgia, or its future. Many in the business couldn’t disagree more.

Milton Werner is president and CEO of Inhibikase Therapeutics, an Atlanta start-up company researching treatments for deadly diseases caused by human polyomaviruses. He was utterly deflated by last week’s stem cell debate.

“No commercial entity and no academic entity has any interest in ignoring important moral or social concerns,” Werner said. But the company president said he can’t attract capital if his researchers can’t operate freely.

And that means he can’t hire anyone trained by the 30 or so university faculty now researching stem cells in Georgia at six institutions. “We’re like our own version of China right now. We’re educating our people for export,” Werner said.

Passage of S.B. 169 was largely driven by Georgia Right to Life, which sees the use of embryonic stem cells as the new center of the pro-life fight, the heart of which is a legal definition of when life begins. “We’ve established a beachhead in the 21st century,” said GRTL President Dan Becker.

He admits that S.B. 169 may not fare well in the House. But Becker is refreshingly honest about his group’s aims, and says enough has already been accomplished to declare victory.

The Senate measure has injected uncertainty into the mind of any biotech executive operating in Georgia, Becker said. Keep up the fight year after year, and eventually businesses that rely on embryonic research will realize they’re not welcome.

Becker cited a similar strategy executed in Missouri. Many efforts at embryonic stem cell research in that state have shifted to nearby Kansas and Illinois.

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108 comments Add your comment

Chris Broe

March 15th, 2009
9:40 pm

The problem with creating human life is that there are already plenty of humans around you that you can use to achieve your collective dreams. We don’t have to figure clever ways to engineer armies of better people. The armies of people that are already here within our own collective grasp are plenty. Look, we have a civic duty to volunteer. America, get together and promote participation in your shared civic duty. This is apart from tithing. There is no civic duty to tithe. So don’t think that just because you tithe you can avoid your civic duty. Volunteer. Figure out a project to promote your local city. Then organize volunteers to assess commercial opportunities for the towns people themselves right there where the good citizens live? Help lives through civic participation. Do it. America. Get people involved and show them the opportunities available to shared civic involvement. It’s the way out of any jam: Volunteer!

rcmpvern

March 16th, 2009
4:08 am

Actually, President Obama could pick a more volatile issue.

He could address the nation and come clean on the cover-up of the Bush Administration Crimes.
What are we protecting Saint George and Saint Cheney for now?
They aren’t Co-War Presidents anymore.

Are we afraid of upsetting Wall Street?

Cheney, Rove, and even Doug Feith are pontificating on C-SPAN, when they should be in Federal Prison, waiting for the next Republican Administration..

President Obama is the actual leader of the Democratic Party. Call a meeting and ask George’s friend. “Off The Table” Pelosi to step down.

All the Republicans, in and out of Georgia, will forget stem cells.

Mark Wyzalek

March 16th, 2009
6:10 am

Looking upon human life as material to be manipulated, no matter how laudable the goal, dehumanizes us into nothing more than “nuts and bolts”.
Make no mistake about it – embryos are human life. Each of us were all once an embryo and we grew into a baby in the womb, a baby out of the womb, then an infant, then a child, then an adolescent, and then an adult.
Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do it.

Pierce Randall

March 16th, 2009
6:14 am

As much as I find it difficult to respect the opinions of outright luddites, I’ll see the governor his stem cell ban if he’ll veto the atrocious car tax giveaway.

Nona

March 16th, 2009
6:33 am

The problem with Right To Lifers is they value life for the only unborn, not for the already born. They are willing to let millions of already born people with die with painful, dreadful, life-threatening diseases like diabetes, Parkinsons, leukemia, MS, etc. for the sake of a few refrigerated embryos that will never be born. Their arguments against stem cell research “for the sake of conscience” reveal only their ultimate lack of conscience. An embryo is a human like an egg is a chicken.

wdf2chas

March 16th, 2009
6:36 am

I miss the old republican party when the GOP stood for “Grand Opportunity Party” and not this bastard child now know as “God’s Own Party”

I am a Christian but what this party is now doing goes against the fundimentals and ideals of the party I joined 30 years ago. They have truly lost their way and the Demograts have found a voice that is reasonating with voters like me.

This obstructionism has to end if there is any chance of the party ever winning the White House again. If not voters like me will be forced to join the Democrats.

deborahinAthens

March 16th, 2009
6:53 am

I am so tired of religious fundamentalists foisting their philosophy on the majority–to everyone’s detriment. We are already the laughingstock of the modern world. Yet we just keep voting the idiots into power.

Willils

March 16th, 2009
6:57 am

I have a 10 year old granddaughter who has had 3 open heart surgeries. If embryonic stem cell research can help save her life, then I am all for it. The “no you can’t” party (formerly the GOP) would rather see her die than to permit the great promise for saving lives of this research. I am living in the most backward state I have ever lived in, and I am originally from Arkansas.

Mark

March 16th, 2009
7:16 am

I am suffering cancer patient and let tell you something there is nothing worst than suffering..God almighty…if there is a research out there that could help battle chronic disease please for the sake of God Almighty let it happen.

RCharles

March 16th, 2009
7:17 am

The Georgia legislature wants Georgia to be part of the shrinking bastion of right-wing evangelicals, the folks who deny evolution and believe dinosaurs were here only 4000 years ago. This legislation will ensure that any scientists trained in biological research will move to NJ or CA or any other state that supports this research. It doesn’t take a genius to see that as trained scientists leave Georgia, the percentage of right-wing evangelicals will increase, further reducing opportunities for Georgia to re-start and grow a decent economy.

A parallel group, extremely conservative catholics, are in the same boat, shrinking in many states as more educated and thoughtful catholics ignore the church hierarchy and vote in favor of stem-cell research, legal abortion and gay rights. It has been suggested that President Obama won because catholics, a large voting block already, voted for him in larger percentages than the general population. The church is now fighting a rear-guard action such as trying to prevent Governor Sebelius from running the HHS, where she can enforce the law of the land and support women’s rights to an abortion.

Nature discards (aborts, destroys) about half of all naturally occurring embryos every day, millions every day. Stem cell research will use existing, spare, surplus embryos from in-vitro fertilization clinics. Using a few hundred such spare embryos for research, which will end in their destruction as well, is hardly immoral; it has never been illegal, only federal funding has been challenged.

RCharles

Larry

March 16th, 2009
7:33 am

the fact here are that stem cell research is valuable…adult stem cells. Adult stem cells are most effective. Why pursue the controversial embryonic? all of the bloggers would have little to say, if they were the ‘chosen’ embryo’s to be donated to science….who’s playing God here?

Kathy

March 16th, 2009
7:44 am

I doubt that many people have a problem with using existing fetal stem cells but are concerned over the possible “farming” of those cells. The pro abortion people have a pretty lousy track record when it comes to pushing the envelope as far as possible, in order to advance their cause, rob conservative noses in them etc.

chris

March 16th, 2009
7:52 am

Hey Kathy: I don’t recall anyone ever saying anything about “farming” those cells. The fact is that those cells would be destroyed anyway. Also, Larry, from what source did you learn that adult stem cells are “most effective”???? I’ve read just the opposite.

The Farmer

March 16th, 2009
7:57 am

My field is full of cattle who always face the same way. It’s what cows do. The one exception is a cow named Georgia. She is always looking backward. All the “normal” cows laugh at her. But she is oblivious and her thinking is laughable and, for the most part, even dangerous. I’m pretty sure she is a republican. I know she still loves Dubya and Sonny.

Trudy

March 16th, 2009
7:58 am

The state of Georgia is an embarrassment to the USA. It is run by a group of ignorant redneck hypocrites who support George Bush policies (death, war, torture) but oppose stem cell research (life).

JW

March 16th, 2009
8:00 am

Stop and think for a minute why we need this type of research now – humans and our world have existed for at least thousands of years but suddenly, here in the 21st century, we feel the need to recreate life to save life. We continue to research and develop “band-aids” to fix things that either we have self-inflicted upon ourselves or are simply out of our control and were never intended to be in our control.

Medical research has its place in our society for sure – we must remember that Luke from the Bible is thought to have been a physician. But we keep applying our newly gained knowledge to trying to reinvent the wheel of health and well-being. Has anyone noticed that America is the most medicated, obese country in the world? We are the laziest and fattest, but instead of taking responsibility for our lifestyles, we find out what the latest drug is that will cover up our unhealthy eating habits and lack of exercise. It’s time to get to the core of these issues and get back to the basics of life. Quit latching onto every new “discovery” of what’s good and bad for us and take responsibility for our lives. Get off your butt, eat more vegetables and get some exercise (I can say “your” because I myself have lost more than 40 pounds in the last year by simply changing my eating habits and exercising – and by simple observation of my genepool, I am – what many experts would say – predisposed to obesity and other health risk factors. Bull – I took responsibility for my own life and got passionate about changing the path that my family is going down physiologically and spiritually.)

I’m not suggesting this simple guidance will fix all the medical problems we are facing, but I do believe a radical shift in the way we eat and pursue active lifestyles could correct 90% plus of the medical issues we face (CVD, Diabetes, Cancer, Depression and more). A significant portion of the remaining issues could be addressed by moral and spiritual shifts in lifestyle – at the risk of sounding religiously cliche – by getting right with God and seeking Him with our whole hearts.

I agree with an early poster – just because we can doesn’t mean we should. If this research could be responsibly contained and applied to the less than 1% of the 1% that may truly be in situations beyond their own doing or control, then and only then, it MIGHT have a place in our society. But it can’t and won’t – egotistical researchers blessed with high IQ’s (from God) but low in faith and morals will continue to test the boundaries of discovering what the next great discovery will be. This controversial topic is bound to stir up emotions and drain the energy of many. I propose that we shift our focus from our own ability to manipulate life in its earliest stage and place that responsibility back into the hands of the one that created us. Instead of seeing how much control over life as a whole we can gain, we simply need to take responsibility of our own and pray for the ability to trust in God for the situations beyond our control and responsibility.

Can I get an amen?!?!

cliff zeider

March 16th, 2009
8:15 am

Hey, This President and the left wingers are for killing little people. cz

chris

March 16th, 2009
8:17 am

hey cliff: again, you forget. These embryos are destroyed anyway.

Wondering

March 16th, 2009
8:19 am

Doctors think my cousin has only a short while to live (probably a day or so). She is dying of complications of Parkinson’s disease. She was the organist for her small country church. She played until the tremors reduced her to taking her medications a few minutes before services. Then that did not help anymore. She could not be taken care of by her loving family. She had to be placed in a nursing home. She was a wonderful vital Christian woman reduced now to helplessness. Maybe stem cells could have helped President Bush. Now President Obama has given Georgia the right to try to help someone who may be just as precious to their families. Don’t stifle this opportunity.

Tony

March 16th, 2009
8:21 am

Brave New World – Huxley

CJ in Atlanta

March 16th, 2009
8:30 am

Georgia is turning its back on its citizens who suffer from diseases which may be cured by the results of stem cell research. Don’t forget – these citizens have paid taxes, given back to their communities, and voted in these legislators. Disease doesn’t distinguish between political parties. If you find yourself on death’s door from a disease that could have been cured, I hope you find comfort knowing that Georgia stem cells are enjoying life frozen in a petry dish.

Acton

March 16th, 2009
8:53 am

The number of uninformed nitwits here astounds me. (Must be sitting around collecting checks from George Soros to do nothing but post moronic comments.) The fact is, embryonic stem cell research isn’t necessary, since human skin cells can be reprogrammed to behave EXACTLY LIKE EMBRYONIC stem cells (see http://www.boston.com/news/science/articles/2007/11/21/breakthrough_on_stem_cells/). In a PBS special that aired last year, the Japanese scientist Shinya Yamanaka, who achieved the breakthrough, was quoted as saying how he couldn’t help thinking how his own daughters were once embryos, and this was part of the inspiration for his research. If BHO truly cared about other peoples’ views and achieving “consensus”, he would fund this type of research. But instead, this charismatic demagogue will pursue a pro-death ideology and reward biotech industry fatcats waiting greedily at the trough of federal dollars like starving pigs. Why do you think they’re hankering for federal dollars for research? Could it be that private investment has dried up after millions in private $ have produced zero results? It is wrong to give people false hope for cures from diseases, especially when research that everyone could agree on (adult stem cells and reprogrammed skin cells) is more likely to produce results.

Shaun

March 16th, 2009
9:01 am

Acton- that method is not necessarily the be all end all: a quote from your article- It may prove in the long term, for example, that creating stem cells through embryo cloning yields purer, more “natural” stem cells than those engineered from adult cells.

Moreover, many scientists noted, the process used by Yamanaka uses cancer-causing genes inserted into cells with the aid of retroviruses. That’s no hindrance to lab research, but could never pass muster for human therapy.

David

March 16th, 2009
9:01 am

Whats funny to me is that its about 20-25 million conservitive right to life republicans and its about 500,000 kids that need to be adopted right here in this country but you wont adopt a living breathing child but you fight over eggs. The bible clearly states that life begins with blood where is the blood in the dish. If you spend some time and either adopt a child or change the laws to make it a little easier then I could understand your gripe. Until there are no kids in foster care just shut up. Save a life an adopt a child a living breathing feed me I am hungry child.

Susan N. Watson

March 16th, 2009
9:08 am

My only sister and my best friend both died of cancer, one of leukemia and the other of lymphoma. If you had seen their suffering after a stem cell transplant, blood and plasma transfusions, and two years of chemo, you would jump at any chance of alleviating their suffering. I just can not see the Christian love and charity in allowing people to suffer such debilitation and pain if there is a possibility of curing such diseases with embryonic stem cell research. Please, people, get a grip. . .when your loved ones are afflicted with horrible diseases, you should allow medical research to explore ways to help them. To deny the sick a chance of life is NOT moral or Christian. We treat animals in pain with more love and concern.

Brian

March 16th, 2009
9:16 am

When all’s said and done – no matter the trend du jour – the following statement / scripture will yet again prove itself; “it is better to trust God than to confide in man.”

…some take longer than others. But sooner or later, everyone ends up understanding this “A-ha” moment in life.

Craig

March 16th, 2009
9:17 am

I love how the ‘experts’ love to say the Pro-Lifers care about the unborn but not after they are born. The ignorant claim the only way to find a cure for these diseases is to dice up an embryo. This is not the case.

As for our glorious President, it was not long ago he chose to pass on the subject of life. He said it was a complex issue and defining life was above his paygrade. Well for something so complex and above his paygrade, he wasted no time in chosing a side.

When a nation loses complete regard for life, they cease to exist as a nation. Notice the forefathers making the statement of certain inalienable rights – LIFE, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Sentences such as these state in order of importance.

As for the “greater good” concept shared by so many here, it only requires studying the history of the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany to see where science was used in a perverted way to ‘discover’ things for the greater good. Science defaulted on moral grounds in both societies to improve the well-being of their peoples. The US has already been down the road of eugenics. We’ve faced abortion since ‘73 in legal form. Now on something Obama said was above his paygrade, he quickly makes a move to force those diametrically opposed to this to have their tax money to fund it. Not only did he spite a large element of this country by openning the door for embryonic stem cell research, he made it a federally funded operation at every tax payer’s expense. This makes him a liar for what he said at Saddleback. He has turned a moral issue into some trivial political one to get elected and then snubbed people by making those who oppose this on moral and religious ground to pay for it. Anyone who plays such games with moral issues and life has no regard for life at all.

Joel

March 16th, 2009
9:36 am

Labels are not arguments. This is a real issue on which reasonable persons can disagree. “Right wing,” “coarse, left wing,” “backward,”
“progressive,” are among such labels that don’t address legitimate differences of opinion.

One centerpiece of the debate is over sacrificing life to help another life. I suggest one clarify the issue this way: “unprotected life vs. in-jeapordy life.” If all grant that a stem cell is life and is a potential child-adult, what rights or legal provisions should protect them? Aristotle and Aquinas defined a living substance in terms of actuality and potentiality. To fully measure something is what it is and what it can be; based on that, it seems reasonable to say that a stem cell is more than what it is now; not simply a little, insignificant thing–rather, it is what it could be if it is granted the freedom to grow according to its promise.

The tragic character of disease for children and adults raises the healing question of how stem cell research may help the living live well or longer.

Perhaps science can establish a way to help fight disease by using the same genetic material not derived from stem cells, perhaps, the suffering child or adult could be treated with derivative technologies that are not taken from stem cells. I would like to learn more on this.

My final thought is simply to posit that advanced scientific research in any field should always consider the Hypocratic Oath that no one should do harm to life, even if for a comparative good. To do wrong for a good is the same ethical premise characteristic of the de-humanizing Chinese population control techniques and the Nazis experiements to improve the master race.

Now this may appear to commit the fallacy of “labeling” but consider: if we criticize justly Nazi experiments that had a dehumanizing effect; why shouldn’t we criticize the principle premise common to stem cell use advocates and “bettering humans” via Nazi experimentation?

I leave with this: The Catholic view holds that an embryo has a soul and is not merely a thing for anothers’, albeit well intentioned, use.

As Kant said, we must treat persons as ends not as means to our ends.

Tom

March 16th, 2009
9:47 am

Question for all the “life begins at moment of conception” proponents here….

Do any of you use (or have used, or would be ok with your daughter using) the “standard” birth control pill.

While rarely coming into play, one of the mechanisms by which “the pill” effectively prevents a viable pregnancy is…..following a breakthrough ovulation…..preventing the implantation of a fertilized ovum. This results in a spontaneous abortion, since implantation never occurs. Conception, however, has occurred.

Given, this occurs a very, VERY low percentage of the time with standard oral contraceptives….but it happens. And, there’s no way to know when/if it happens when the pill is the only method being utilized.

So, here’s the simple question…….

If you believe that human life begins at the moment of conception, are you wanting to ban standard oral contraceptives in the US and/or Georgia?

(I asked this same question one day last week in a different blog and the silence was deafening…….and telling.)

Joel

March 16th, 2009
9:54 am

Mr. Acton shouldn’t use the term “nitwits” cause it just hacks people off; yet I will look at the science claims that skin cells are effective and we need not farm stem cells. Thanks for bringing this to my attention and I will now read the article. Joel

XYZ

March 16th, 2009
10:00 am

Great, so, I guess every female in the RTL organization is going to have these embryos put into her and carry the children full-term? Awesome! If not, then shut up, let these embryos be used for research rather than discarded, and benefit the world. Move on, RTL, GOP, and all of the rest of you who want to perpetually live in 1944.

Calvin

March 16th, 2009
10:17 am

Can we get to the real question please? The ultimate question is very simple: is a human embryo alive? If it is not, no defense of embryonic stem cell research is necessary. But if it is, no argument in favor of such research is adequate. If we’re talking about performing research on a lifeless mass of tissue, all of the talk is mere rhetoric and largely a waste of time and energy. But if we’re talking about using one life to save another, this may very well be the defining discussion of our time.

This is not a Christian versus non-Christian issue. It’s not idiots arguing against science. This is a right versus wrong issue; and as much as some would like to think otherwise, a human embryo meets all the criteria of life. I challenge anyone to offer an alternative. A human embryo, left to develop, will become a human fetus, a human newborn, a human infant, toddler, child, adolescent, adult and ultimately, a cadaver. It will not develop into a tree frog, spruce pine or ruby. It is what it is: the first step of the biological process called life.

Unfortunately life is not always pretty. And as much as I sympathize with those who are suffering from horrible illnesses, those have no right to demand the life of another. At the end of the arguments lies this dilemma: is any life more valuable than another; and if so, who makes that choice? Is it the cancer patient? The Parkinson’s sufferer? The accident victim left with spinal trauma? Must someone die to relieve their suffering? What level of suffering is sufficient?

If a human is alive, and his life is ended by another, we say that the second killed the first. We can argue whether the killing was justified but we cannot debate the final result: life was taken. It doesn’t matter whether the life was ended in a gunfight or a petri dish. We are left to debate the justification and if we have arrived at the point where suffering of one (or many) is adequate cause to kill, we have ceased being a civil society.

Christians – stop using your religious beliefs as arguments: they hold no sway over non-believers. Atheists – stop the ad-hominine attacks: they don’t advance the discussion. There really isn’t any point in arguing over whether adult, skin, placental or fetal stem cells is the most promising therapy. At least not until the first question is answered: is a human embryo alive? And when answered, either way, the debate should be over.

Gerald

March 16th, 2009
10:18 am

Let Georgia stay unenlightened while the more progressive states move forward with stem cell research. My hometown in Minnesota has just received $3.1 billion to expand biomedical research thereby creating hudreds of high paying jobs for highly educated people. Georgia can remain in the backwaters with their low paid chicken plucking, peanut processing, foreign auto jobs paying $8.50 per hour. Georgia always has and always will depend on the federal government for economic support. Keep up the good work Georgia.

Joey

March 16th, 2009
10:28 am

Life exists once the egg is fertilized (zygote) after which you have different stages of development. It is a living being and stopping its growth is stopping its life. The methods that are used to determine if that existence is a life of our recognition is limited by our current scientific methods. As time goes forward, will the mark move closer to fertilization or away? Either way, it has no way to defend itself so have at it.

Tom

March 16th, 2009
10:38 am

Joey, so what is your response to my inquiry @ Tom 9:47 am? Thanks!

Roger

March 16th, 2009
10:42 am

I am in my 7th decade of life and during much of these years I have always admired Georgia and especially Atlanta and always wanted to live in the Atlanta area. My career always kept me from moving to Atlanta. A couple of years ago, after retiring and considering that my son and his family now live in the Atlanta area my wife and I made the decision to relocate to Atlanta to realize my life’s dream. Now, after a little more than a year of experiencing Georgia I have to say moving to Atlanta was a very bad decision. You can never really learn about a place until you live there and experience the thoughts actions and beliefs of the people who live there. To my great surprise and dismay in a little over a year I have learned just how backward the leaders of the State of Georgia are. I have to assume most of the people in Georgia have the same beliefs as the state leaders because they keep voting the same closed-mind, uninformed, backwards thinking evangeligicals into office year after year. The great state of Georgia is on it’s way to becoming the backward, redneck state of fifty years ago when the citizens of Georgia were ashamed to admit to living in Georgia and Georgia was the laughing stock of all the other states including most of the neighboring southern states. As the economy tightens and the backward laws continue to thrive in Georgia businesses will chose to leave Georgia and/or chose not to locate in Georgia because of the ridiculous laws being passed by the Georgia Legislature. The enlightened people of Georgia need to reclaim their state back from the radicals that now reside in the seats of power and shed themselves of this dismal cloak that the far right evangelicals are wrapping around the state. Strike back against those that are imposing their narrow views on the good citizens of the great State of Georgia. As far as myself I’m hoping to keep enough people in Georgia long enough for someone to buy my home so that I may take my shattered dream and move from the Backward State of Georgia to another state where the leaders of the state respect the wishes of the states citizens and work hard to make their state a happy welcoming place with a bright future for all.

Calvin

March 16th, 2009
10:49 am

Tom, your question is legitimate and I’ll break the silence. Like so many dilemmas, we answer the second or third question rather than the first. My wife and I struggled over this issue and determined that since it is inarguable that life begins at conception, oral contraceptives end life. So we moved, successfully I might add, to other methods. Now that we’ve broken the silence, what say you concerning my question @ 10:17?

motherofmany

March 16th, 2009
10:57 am

My husband has recently been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS). This very vital man, father and stepfather of 5, grandfather of 3 has lived a very clean and honest life. He is physically fit, has always been very athletic, has never used illegal drugs, doesn’t smoke, doesn’t drink and cared for his dying (first) wife at age 32. She left two young children that he continued to raise on his own. Now, he is faced with leaving those same two children to a horrible, debilitating disease that will rob him of his ability to walk, talk, breathe on his own, and care for himself. His mind will be intact, but his body will betray him. There is no stopping the progression of this disease. Our only hope is stem cell research.

I am 47 years old. I still have vital eggs. However, I have no plans to have more children (can’t as I have no uterus) and they are not suitable for embryonic donation. The eggs that my body is carrying could save my husband’s life and others like him, keep him from losing his abilities and he could possibly continue to be a hardworking, loving, contributing member of society on his own terms. The eggs that my body expels monthly are of no use to me. My life means nothing if I lose my husband. My stepchildren will be orphans. But my eggs will continue to be absorbed by my body. Tell me, where is the fairness in that.

Until you or your loved one is diagnosed with a disease that science cannot stop, you can never understand the anguish it brings to a family. We have raised our children together, very successfully I might add. One of our children is a married father, in the military, defending our country for ALL of us every day. One of our children is in college working on her Ph.D. and planning her wedding earlier than she would otherwise because of her father’s illness. Another is the mother of two beautiful babies that I would give my life for. Our oldest son is in business management, helping to raise his stepson. Our youngest is about to graduate high school and head to college. Now is the time for my husband and I to have our life together. What we are faced with is beyond unfair. If the embryonic cells can be used to stop this horrible disease, please let me donate these eggs and let the research go on. Please give him a chance to live out the rest of his life, not trapped in a body that is betraying him. I want to grow old with this man and sit on the porch fussing about what we have for our next meal at 80 years old!

God has given us the abilities to make life better for ourselves and those around us. God has seen fit to have these brilliant doctors and scientists that have made such terrific strides in the healthcare industry. I frankly don’t care WHO gets rich, as long as my husband is cured. Call me selfish, but if you were in my position, I promise you that you would have these same thoughts.

Remember – I am a mother of five, grandmother of 3. I believe in life, I believe in caring for the unborn, but I also believe God helps those who helps themselves.

MOM

Gary

March 16th, 2009
10:57 am

We know that “human” life begins at conception (actually the gametes that made the zygote were alive. But… so what? Human life is important only because we are human. In the realms of the universe we are inconsequential. We should therefore act in ways that better our species’ ability to survive in the larger context. That means understanding ever facet of our development, which ultimately means study human embryology which can only be done with human embryos. I think protection under the law of individual rights should only start when an individual has the potential to sustain oneself with minimal support(ie after birth). We can quibble over the exact meaning but some might consider heroic measures with full lifesupport to be optional even after birth. Definitely prior to birth the decision maker should be the mother, and or if not yet in a mother, then the contributors of the cellular material.

Aaron Burr V. Mexico

March 16th, 2009
10:58 am

“Is it alive or is it not alive?”

When I see that kind of respect for both the death penalty, SCHIP, AND other species, then I’ll believe this argument for ‘life’.

Until then, I see a fear of Sex and an attempt to regulate it.

wes

March 16th, 2009
11:01 am

Republicans don’t masturbate because it kills potential babies.

Tom

March 16th, 2009
11:06 am

Calvin, YES…..a human embryo is alive (as are the vast majority of the cells in our bodies and in every biological form on this planet). However, an embryo will not and cannot…..on its own…..develop into a viable human being.

And in the context of “living”, both the sperm and the ovum are “living” cells. So, “life” doesn’t really “begin” at fertilization…..the question is really whern does a human being begin to exist? Does it occur at the moment of fertilization and before the first cellular mitosis? After mitosis? After the 23rd mitosis? the 197th? That leads back to the issue of viability.

Pro-Brian

March 16th, 2009
11:11 am

And then there’s CALVIN – the incredible scientific intellect who refuses to allow religious beliefs to enter what is a wholly moral debate. Cracks…me…up. Now I remember why I am drawn into comment chains like this; to deepen my faith in God and my principles, and to help me understand one’s principles, even if they don’t believe in God. To not take into account one’s faith, or lack thereof, is to never get past the shell of the proverbial egg…

Buster

March 16th, 2009
11:23 am

Come on, Roger.

If embryonic stem cell research could produce results, private companies by the hundreds would be clamoring for a piece of the (financial) pie. The fact is, the government has to forcibly take our money to spend on embryonic stem cell research, even from those who are opposed to it on moral grounds. Just as you do not want others forcing their opinions on you, others do not want your opinions to be forced on them.

If this is such a damn good opportunity to save life, blah blah blah, then spend your own damn money on it; do not forcibly take my money that belongs to me and my family.

Period.

Calvin

March 16th, 2009
11:23 am

Pro-Brian, try to understand my point: this is not a theological debate per se. The use of belief-based arguments with those who don’t subscribe to your beliefs doesn’t work. My point is that there are strong moral arguments against the use of human embryos that aren’t grounded in religious conviction. Even atheists admit to right and wrong – they just can’t justify the “why” very well.

Buster

March 16th, 2009
11:44 am

Calvin,

Aren’t morals based on beliefs? If people don’t subscribe to morals, they think nothing of ending a potentially viable life.

Bottom line, the opposing sides on this issue will never agree, and it does not matter. One day we will all be judged and held accountable for our actions.

Thanks.

Senseless Debate

March 16th, 2009
11:47 am

If one combines all the research advances and breakthroughs related to stem cells of all type, including research from countries where no restrictions have been in place, non-embryonic sources clearly come out ahead, showing more promise, more breakthroughs, lower risk of lymphoma, and even some REAL human treatment successes. Not so with embryonic — not one single human success — not even one on the horizon that anyone would bet on — despite having limited access to cell lines for over a decade now in the US and unlimited cell lines in countries who would dearly love to make embryonic cells pay off. This is not to say that further research might not show benefit, but honestly, are we throwing the same amount of energy, funding and public awareness behind non-embryonic research and the promise demonstrated to date? Not even close.
My heart goes out to all the individuals here and elsewhere dealing with grievous illness, but the harsh reality is that their suffering is being exploited on a political stage that does not want to take a clear, non-biased look at where most of the opportunity is going to come from in the next 10 years. An informed caregiver would prefer that we put the lion’s share of this energy to work focusing on non-embryonic sources in order to improve our chances for a pay off from what is proving so far to be the cell source of most hope — AND we’d avoid the controversy at the same time.

Tom

March 16th, 2009
11:51 am

Any other replies to my question @ Tom 9:47 am?

asdf

March 16th, 2009
11:52 am

A friend of mine suffered a spinal injury while serving in the marines. He is now paralized and cannot walk. You’re telling me that the country he served and protected now opposes (at least in Georgia) a possible cure for his injury?

asdf2

March 16th, 2009
11:55 am

If I was the National Health Museum I would be re-considering my move to Georgia. Can we get a new governor please?

Shoot, If I worked at Emory University or GaTech on stem cell research I would be long gone from this backward state.