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Jack Sisson's Life Ethics Blog

We must find new ways through many ethical issues, especially regarding bioethics, medical ethics, and criminal justice. Jack Sisson's 'Life Ethics' blog focuses on numerous areas of concern, including the philosophical and ethical dilemmas surrounding stem-cell research, abortion, medical research, and health care.

Not everyone's happy with the recent stem-cell breakthrough. Read on:

Baptist Press
, Jan 21, 2008, WASHINGTON (BP)--Scientists used cells from aborted babies in recently reported research that has been hailed as a breakthrough in the ethical development of embryonic-like stem cells.

Pro-life advocates decried the abortion connection, but bioethicists said the newly successful technique could be utilized without the employment of such cells and thereby be considered ethical.

Research teams in Wisconsin and Japan reported in November they had converted adult skin cells in human beings into the functional equivalent of embryonic stem cells. Pro-lifers hailed the development because the scientists had found a way to produce the stem cells with seemingly the most potential for providing therapies for debilitating afflictions while avoiding the destruction of human embryos.

Children of God for Life, however, reported Jan. 8 the researchers had used cells from aborted fetal cell lines to produce a virus to reprogram the adult cells into embryonic-like stem cells. The organization, which monitors stem cell research and the presence of aborted fetal cells in medical products, said the Wisconsin team also utilized material from embryonic stem cells in its research.

"Using aborted fetal and embryonic stem cells from deliberately destroyed human beings is certainly not any kind of moral victory," said Debi Vinnedge, director of Children of God for Life.

Southern Baptist bioethicist C. Ben Mitchell said, "The principle is clear: Science should never perform an evil act -- or contribute to evil acts -- in order to achieve good ends. So, deriving therapies from electively aborted fetuses ethically taints the discovery.

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