Saturday, May 21, 2005

Cell or Soul?

I lead with digby-Stem Sells because his post is what started me thinking, but I warn you it is graphic and not for the faint of heart (Mrs. Bubba, I mean you). The question he asks is, why is a collection of cells worthy of the President's concern, but the lives of thousands of Iraqi children murdered since the invasion of Iraq not. Bush says, "...taxpayers' money to support science which destroys life to save life is - I'm against it." So science bad, war good? The Koolaid kids would say it is not war but democracy we are promoting in Iraq, but that is semantics. The state is justifying "the taking of life to save life", no matter how they spin it.

So I did a little research and found out the number one question in the debate on stem cell research is when does life begin. Embryos collected and fertilized for the invitro process are either used immediately or frozen for future use. Once a couple has successfully given birth, they no longer need the frozen embryos. There are currently over 100,000 frozen embryos in the US alone. Medical science has found a use for all those frozen embryos, stem cell research, but pro-life advocates believe life begins at conception and therefore all those little Petri dishes contain souls, and should not be used for medical research.

Now for the Q & A portion of tonight's program: Do pro-lifers disagree with invitro because it creates "life" that will ultimately be destroyed, because all those frozen embryos will eventually be unusable? Will pro-lifers refuse treatment options that become available through stem cell research because the disagree with the method used to develop them? Are those lives so much more precious than the innocent lives lost to handguns each day? Are the souls of death row inmates forfeit due to the crimes they may (or may not) have committed? Why do we get to decide this? Isn't a soul a soul? And what if we do kill an innocent person, are our souls forfeited? And the soldiers who kill innocents in battle, what about their souls? And the men who send then into war? What about the 30,000 African children who die every day from poverty and disease while we in America have the wherewithal to fund lifesaving food and medicine but would rather buy an IPod?

It seems to me we make life and death choices everyday and not all of them are consistent. It is easy to judge and condemn, harder to take personal responsibility for every choice we make. The day I hear of the pro-life movement forsaking handguns, the death penalty, the war in Iraq, medical miracles and worldly belongings to donate their time and personal wealth to the poor, then I will congratulated them on their convictions towards stem cells. Until then, I favor the living, breathing to the blastocyst.