To the editor:
There is something peculiar about the proposal regarding the use of human embryos for stem-cell research. Proponents want us to throw our moral support behind the killing of embryos for medical research by voting a constitutional amendment allowing scientists to follow federal laws allowing only privately financed research. No state money would be committed to this research.
Embryonic stem cells have their limitations, because tissue derived from one individual and transplanted into another can be rejected unless toxic, immune-suppressing drugs are taken for the life of the patient. They may also carry viruses or rare diseases, and they frequently will grow into tumors. Not one treatment has been developed with the use of embryonic stem cells.
Adult stem cells taken from bone marrow, liver, skin, intestine, brain and even fat tissues as well as cells harvested from umbilical cords, placentas and amniotic fluid have led to treatments for 65 illnesses including heart disease, stroke victims, diabetes and spinal injuries.
Federal laws frequently change. There is no guarantee that at a future date we won't be forced to fund these studies.
Embryonic stem-cell research kills self integrating, unified individual beings, endowed with human nature with fundamental human rights that must be protected. Embryos must not be reduced to a commodity to be bought and sold and killed for the sake of scientific curiosity. Why are scientists ignoring adult stem-cell research in favor of destroying the beginnings of human life?
CHRISTINE E. STEPHENS, Cape Girardeau