NIH Stem Cell Guidelines

September 12, 2000

Recently the National Institutes of Health released their final guidelines for stem cell research. People on both sides of the debate found the guidelines confusing and full of compromises. Pro-life critics especially were concerned that the guidelines allow for the destruction of human embryos and are calling for Christians to express their concerns to Congress.

A little over a week ago, I was privileged to interview Richard Doerflinger on this issue. He made three important points which I think you could borrow if you wanted to express your opinion to Congress. He says the NIH guidelines are immoral, illegal, and unnecessary.

First, they are immoral. This is the first time in history that our government is promoting the destruction of human beings. The administration has ignored the moral objection submitted by tens of thousands of Americans during the NIH's public comment period. And the government is forcing these pro-life Americans to pay for the procedures through their tax dollars.

Second, the guidelines are illegal. Funding of research in which human embryos are harmed or destroyed is prohibited by federal law. The new NIH guidelines seek to circumvent the law, by telling researchers how to obtain and destroy live human embryos if they wish to receive a stem cell research grant.

Third, the guidelines are unnecessary. Richard Doerflinger points out something I've talked about in previous commentaries. We don't need to destroy human embryos to pursue stem cell research. There are numerous breakthroughs in adult stem cell research which show great promise. Just recently researchers found they could produce a virtually limitless supply of new nerve cells from transplants from the patients' own bone marrow stem cells.

So there you have it. The latest stem cell guidelines are immoral, illegal, and unnecessary. If you want to express your opinion, here are three key issues to mention in your phone call, e-mail, or letter.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.