Use of the contraceptive Depo Provera appears to triple women's risk of infection with chlamydia and gonorrhea, a study reports Monday.
biomedical ethics: August 2004 Archives
SACRAMENTO, Calif. Catholic teaching has called in-vitro fertilization techniques immoral for decades. But most Catholics still haven't heard the news.
California attorneys Anthony and Stephanie Epolite found out the hard way that in-vitro fertilization wasn't all it's cracked up to be. After years of marriage, and facing her 39th birthday still without a baby, Stephanie turned to a fertility clinic
Although I am trying not to be political on this blog, there are some issues that raise my ire to the point that I have to vent somehow and somewhere. One such issue is human embryonic stem cell research. The recent ballot initiative in my home state of California was covered favorably and in detail by NPR yesterday, and this morning I awoke to the sound of candidate Kerry stating that he saw no ethical conflict between a belief that life begins at conception and a wholehearted support for human embryonic stem cell research. Now I have a gut ache and a headache and I worry so much for my country.
I am not sure just why the whole human embryonic stem cell research hits me so hard. I can see that there may indeed be medical advances to be found from basic research into stem cells, which after all are basic biological building blocks. We are already doing a form of stem cell therapy in what is called bone marrow transplants - actually what is infused into the recipients of these 'transplants' are blood forming stem cells. There is a lot of basic research that needs to be done on umbilical stem cells, and many moms and dads are more than willing to donate their baby's cord blood for this research, yet there is no agency that I know of to collect this resource at no cost to the parents or to do the needed basic research.
Nor has there been a strong foundation of animal embryonic stem cell research to indicate if any of the hypothetical benefits of the highly undifferentiated embryonic cells have any basis in reality.
The hooplah reminds me a bit of the hooplah surrounding what was called 'gene therapy' from a couple of decades ago, where the idea was to insert tailored genes into persons suffering from various diseases, hopefully to replace the aberrant genes. It hasn't panned out too well, from what I have been able to find.
So I find this call for expensive public funding of research on human embryos to be a bit disingenuous. It isn't even particularly good science. Now, I have family members with some of the diseases for which this technology is dangling promises - type 1 diabetes being a big one. I just don't get how and why so many otherwise intelligent public figures can endorse this particularly gruesome form of cannibalism when there is not even any good evidence that it might even work! And don't tell me that the research that they are promoting is what is needed to produce that evidence. The research that needs to be done is far more basic, and no human embryos need to be harmed to do the very basics. Of course, if we were to try to do animal embryonic stem cell research, say on primates or house pet animals, PETA would be up in arms.......