Tissue of Lies

November 9, 2000

Douglas Johnson of the National Right to Life Committee believes the Clinton administration is playing with words when it comes to bioethics. Of course, this wouldn't be the first time such criticism has been leveled at the administration, but this may be the first time such criticism has focused on stem cell research.

Johnson makes a convincing case. "If a law said that no federal funds may support research in which porpoises are destroyed, and a federal agency then told its grantees to arrange for porpoises to be caught and killed for use in federally approved experiments, everyone would recognize this as illegal and that the decision violated the express intent of the law."

The Clinton administration's revised guidelines will allow federal research on human embryos left behind at fertility clinics, provided the funds are not used to destroy the embryos. Perhaps now you can see Johnson's point.

The public pressure for using human embryos has been great. Celebrities like Christopher Reeve, Mary Tyler Moore, and Michael J. Fox have testified on behalf of the regulations. They will benefit from the research being planned using stem cells and are less concerned about the use of human embryos. Mary Tyler Moore told the panel that "The embryos ... bear as much resemblance to a human being as a goldfish."

Scientists want to use human embryos because they have a high proportion of stem cells. Critics argue that stem cells derived from an adult are highly promising and therefore do not require harvesting from embryos. And stem cells can also be harvested from a growing supply of umbilical-cord blood.

Nevertheless, human embryos will be utilized because of the latest guidelines and because of the assumption that a human embryo isn't really human because it looks more like a goldfish.

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