Stem Cell Research Financed

Milwaukee, WI, (January, 1999), As the medical community continues to discover new and exciting opportunities in organ tissue generation, lives are being lost as researchers take ethical shortcuts to achieve their results. Recently, the Clinton administrationhas agreed to finance research on stem cells, the "master cells" which develop into the body's different tissues and organs.

These cells are only found in human embryos, which means that a human life must be ended in order to harvest them. Specifically, cells are being removed from aborted fetuses and "extra" embryos which were prepared for use in infertility treatments.

Although stem cell research brings forth many potentially great advances in medical technology, these potential benefits are shadowed by the price that must be paid to attain them. Killing human life in the name of research is unfair and fundamentally wrong.

Although the government banned human embryo research, Dr. Harold Varmus, director of the National Institutes of Health, announced that stem cell research does not violate the governmentban because the cells "do not have the capacity to develop into a human being" (Cimons, Los Angeles Times, 1/20).

This view disregards the fact that, although the cells that are being studied cannot develop into a human being, they can only be found and harvested in a healthy and viable embryo, which does have this potential.

"It is a biological and Biblical fact that life begins at conception," says Rev. Robert Fleischmann, National Director of WELS Lutherans for Life. "It is wrong to unjustly kill human life at any stage. We encourage the medical research community to preface further experimentation with stem cells by first discovering a means of obtaining them without taking human life."

It is unfortunate that the Clinton administration is compelling U.S. taxpayers who believe in the sanctity of human life, from its conception to its natural death, to pay for this research. While there is great potential in this field, future benefits should not be paid for with lives today.

SOURCE: WELS Lutherans for Life, as one of the nation's largest single-denominational pro-life organizations, promotes the sanctity of all human life, including that of human embryos, and condemns the use of stem cells for research. We urge all organizations and individuals to uphold these high standards for life and continue the fight for life through legal and responsible activities.

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