Embryonic Stem-Cell Research: Is there a biblical position (continued)?

This is my third post on embryonic stem-cell research (ESCR). You may want to read Part 1 and Part 2 if you have not already. In this post, I will answer the rest of the questions I brought up in my original post, which I did not answer in my last post

(3) What is the best solution to the vast number of unused frozen embryos?

There are an estimated 500,000 embryos stored in cryobanks, which are no longer needed for many different reasons. The three possible solutions that have been offered to resolve this problem are to destroy (abort) the embryos, donate them to other couples wanting to have children, or donate them to “science.” There are pros and cons to each of these possible solutions.

The parents of these embryos often cannot simply “destroy” the embryos. They frequently make a statement along the lines that they see their current children and cannot help but to think of what those embryos could become. However, these same parents at times do not feel comfortable with giving these embryos up for adoption. They fear the unforeseen consequences of them someday meeting an unknown relative or that they may be brought up in a bad home. Furthermore, the process for adopting an embryo is more difficult than adopting a child and often costs thousands of dollars. The third option is even cloudier because no one has really defined what “donating to science” entails.

Everyday there seems to be another story in the news about President Obama and ESCR. It would appear that the government is pushing to use these “existing” embryos in cryobanks for current ESCR. The problem here, though, is that there doesn’t seem to be a coherent policy about ESCR and what is or is not allowed. A recent post on Stand to Reason shows just how confusing the White House’s policies are concerning this issue. This brings me to the fourth question I raised…

(4) Is it ethical to use “embryos” for scientific purposes (whether from extra embryos or those purposely created for such purposes)?

This question is really about the status of embryos, regardless of whether they are extra embryos or embryos created for scientific research. If these embryos are human, then it is certainly unethical to allow unfounded scientific research to be conducted on them. Particularly, since we do not allow unfounded scientific research on adult humans. Even when we allow scientific research to be conducted on adult humans there are safeguards, regulations, permission must be obtained from the participant, etc. Furthering this problem of scientific research on embryos is the whole option of adopting embryos. If embryos are not human nor persons, then why have an adoption process? It makes no sense to have one position (adoption) that treats these embryos as persons and, at the same time, have another stance (science) that denies that these embryos are persons but are only cells. This debate over the status leads to the fifth and final question I raised…

(5) Are we killing a human when we destroy an embryo?

I think we are killing a human when we destroy an embryo. Partly because of my position that I believe we receive our souls at conception, but more so because I do not believe that a human’s position in reference to the birth canal determines our humanity. We are human whether born or unborn. I also think the Scriptures are clear that we are important and valuable in God’s eyes from the moment of conception (Psalm 139:13, Jeremiah 1:5).
What'd you think? 

1 Response to "Embryonic Stem-Cell Research: Is there a biblical position (continued)?"

  • Kendalf Says:

    Hi Mr. Hyde!

    Came across your blog from your link in the STR blog. Thanks for your thoughts as a pastor helping your congregation work through the issues surrounding stem cell research. I've posted some additional info on ESCr that you might find helpful in responding to questions, including an analysis of why the argument that there are hundreds of thousands of frozen embryos isn't really that significant, because only a tiny percentage of those frozen embryos can actually be used for research:

    The Slippery Slope of Embryonic Stem Cell Research

    Recently I've also been debating with some people online on ESCr, and you might find some of the responses interesting, as they are real arguments from real people who strongly are against any restrictions on ESCR.

    The ESCR Debate: The Leftover Embryo Argument