The catholic church has been ferociously against stem cell research and anything to do with harming an embryo. To its credit it has been extremely consistent with its stance on abortion, stem cell research, artificial birth and many more. But stem cell hits a perticularly raw nerve for a lot of people since the research is targeted at curing some of the most dihabilitating diseases that are known to man.
So why is the church against it? Well for obvious reasons since the creating of a stem cell line essentially destroys the embryo and kills what could possibly have turned out to be a baby. A couple of days back researchers announced that they have found a way to develop cell lines from embryos without actually destroying the embryo.
For various reasons including testing the health of the future baby, scientists have been separating out cells from an embryo for years. When the embryo initially multiplies it forms blastomeres. Scientists detach a single blastomere from the embryo and test it for various diseases that the baby could be vulnerable to. This is all done keeping the embryo intact. Today researchers believe that they have found a way to develop stem cell lines from blastomeres without destroying the embryo.
Does this change the Churches stand? Well no. Because the church believes that even testing the embryo is wrong because you are attempting the determine the fate of the child before hand. The church is also against artifically developing an embryo or putting it under any sort of risk. So really there is no change on that front.
But how can that be. If we can develop and research new ideas without killing the embryo and if that can help millions of people eventually, then why not? Should we have to wait for scientists to figure out how to develop stem cell lines from spinal nerve cells before it can be acceptable?
Hard to say. Moral issues are never black or white. For the Church this is crystal clear but the real question is if this new discovery greys up the area for conservative politicians who are vehemently against it.
Fedral funding for stem cell research did you say?